Eagles-Titans: Predictions, key matchups

UPDATE: It looks like Kerry Collins will start at quarterback for the Titans against the Eagles if warmups at LP Field are any indication.

Collins is on the field with Ryan Smith and there is no sign of Vince Young, according to reports. Young suffered a sprained knee Monday against Jacksonville and did not practice this week.

The inactives will not be posted for about another 30 minutes. 



Here are the Daily News staff predictions for today's game between the Eagles and the Titans. Game time is 1 p.m. at LP Field in Nashville.


The Titans have won their last 11 games against the NFC. Tennessee and Indianapolis, the Birds' next two opponents, are the only teams in the NFL Andy Reid never have beaten. But the Eagles and Titans haven't played since a 31-13 Titans win at the Linc on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006. That game was memorable because of the ACL tear Donovan McNabb suffered.

Anyhow, I guessed completely wrong about the then-4-1 Falcons last week. Turned out they were a one-dimensional power running team that couldn't pressure the quarterback. Watched Tennessee Monday night and saw a much better team, the best team the Eagles have played since Green Bay in the opener, even with Kerry Collins subbing for injured Vince Young (though Young is expected to play this week with minor knee and ankle sprains).

I don't have much of a feel for this matchup, but I'm still a skeptic about the Birds' offensive line, in a tough road environment, and about their defense, especially against a back like Chris Johnson who can wriggle out of tackles. The Titans have beaten the Giants and the Cowboys.

Titans 20, Eagles 16



Other than the fact that Vince Young is nursing knee and ankle sprains, I'm not getting a lot of good vibes about this game as far as the Eagles' chances of winning.

Let's start with the fact that they've lost six of their last nine games in the week leading up to the bye. Call it Cancun Fever. Then there's the Titans' defense. First in the league in sacks. Fourth in the league in points allowed. Misdirection ain't going to cut it against this well-coached bunch, especially with DeSean Jackson still trying to figure out how many fingers they're holding up in front of him.

The Eagles did a good job against Frank Gore and Michael Turner the last 2 weeks, but Chris Johnson is on a whole different level. Now you see him, now he's in the end zone. And I just don't see the Eagles diffusing him by jumping out to a two-touchdown lead against the Titans like they did last week against the Falcons. A 4-3 record is going to have to do heading into the bye.

Titans 21, Eagles 16

Ed Barkowitz: Titans, 26-19

Bill Conlin: Eagles, 24-20

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 24-17

John Smallwood: Eagles, 24-17

Vegas Vic: Titans, 24-19


1. Eagles RT Winston Justice vs. Titans LDE Jason Babin: Ex-Eagle Babin has been one of the keys to a pass rush that already has notched 24 sacks. Justice is athletic, but can be overpowered. Advantage: Titans

2. Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin vs. Titans CB Courtland Finnegan and FS Michael Griffin: With DeSean Jackson out, Titans will be able to roll coverage toward Maclin, who had a career-high 159 receiving yards and two TDs last week. Advantage: Titans

3. Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley vs. Titans RB Chris Johnson: Eagles shut down Frank Gore and Michael Turner the last 2 weeks, but neither has the explosive speed that Johnson does. Advantage: Titans




* The Eagles have allowed just 6 sacks in the last 3 games after giving up 14 in the first 3 games.

* Just 5 of the Eagles’ 18 touchdown drives have been 4 plays or less. Last year, through the first 7 games, 14 of their 20 TD drives were 4 plays or less.

* The Eagles’ special teams units have committed 9 penalties this season, but only 2 in the last 3 games. The offensive line has committed 8 holding penalties. Jason Peters has 3 of them and LG Todd Herremans 2.

* The Eagles have scored on their first possession in each of the last 2 games. On those first two drives, they averaged 11.5 yards per play and had 7 first downs. In the first 4 games, they averaged 1.7 yards per play on their first possession and had just 1 first down.

* The defense has allowed touchdowns on their opponent’s first possession in 2 of the last 3 games.

*  In their 4 wins, the Eagles have scored 73 first-half points. In their 2 losses, they scored 9.