Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Denver Broncos (4-5)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:30 ET
TV: ESPN, Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, Suzy Kolber, Michele Tafoya
SERIES: 37th meeting. Titans lead series, 21-14-1, including playoffs. Tennessee beat Denver in the last meeting in 2004, 37-16.
PREDICTION: Titans 20-16
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Titans expect to get RB Chris Brown back in the lineup to share the load at high altitude with LenDale White in going after Denver's No. 31-ranked run defense allowing 151.0 yards per game. QB Vince Young is still shaky in the passing game, and the Titans would prefer to keep it on the ground in a tough road environment. ... The Titans are stopping opponents for no gain or a loss 43.4 percent of the time on first down, and Tennessee rushes the passer too effectively for Denver to leave QB Jay Cutler in too many obvious passing situations. Tennessee is fourth against the run, but the Titans gave up 166 rushing yards last Sunday without DT Albert Haynesworth. The Broncos hope RB Travis Henry is healthy enough split time with rookie Selvin Young.
Titans: Haynesworth (hamstring) has not practiced and is uncertain, along with CB Nick Harper (concussion).
Broncos: Henry (knee) is questionable; S John Lynch (neck stinger) is practicing in hopes of returning; WR Javon Walker (knee) remains out, but ay begin practicing soon.
FAST FACTS: White attended Chatfield High in Littleton, Colo., and Brown played for the University of Colorado. ... The Broncos are 10-4 (.714) at home on Monday nights under coach Mike Shanahan.
--RB Chris Brown will find out a lot about his standing Monday night in Denver. He's ready to return after four games off because of a high ankle sprain. But the Titans won't likely keep three backs active and will have to bench rookie Chris Henry to pave the way for Brown's return.
--RB Chris Henry doesn't appear likely to withdraw his appeal of a four-game suspension before Monday night and will be available for the Titans, who may be ready to reinsert Chris Brown into the plan.
--FB Ahmard Hall (arm) looks to be at least another week away from returning to action.
--CB Nick Harper has been steady in coverage and excellent in run support, but he's coming off a concussion and has a neck injury which could mean he can't play Monday night in Denver. Reynaldo Hill would likely fill-in.
--DT Albert Haynesworth has not practiced since suffering a hamstring injury in the Titans' Nov. 4 win over Carolina. He sat out last week's game against Jacksonville and his status for Monday night in Denver is unclear.
--P Craig Hentrich has never enjoyed the benefits of Denver's altitude in a regular season game though this is his 14th year in the NFL.
--S John Lynch practiced Thursday and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan pronounced him ready to go. Lynch said he is completely over the symptoms of a stinger he suffered a little more than two weeks ago.
--RB Travis Henry could miss this week's game. He was limited and looked "fairly good," according to Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, in practice Thursday. He is certain to miss practice Friday because he has a hearing with the NFL over a one-year suspension in Phoenix. Because the Broncos play on Monday night, Henry will have an extra day to recover and possibly play.
--QB Jay Cutler said the nerve in his injured lower left leg is still bothersome, and could affect him most of the season. But Cutler played through the injury last week and will continue to play.
--TE Tony Scheffler has gone through both practices for the Broncos this week. He has a chest injury but will play against Tennessee.
--RB Paul Smith has an injured calf and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. He would be a loss for the Broncos because he is a special teams standout.
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
The Titans planned a long time ago for injuries at cornerback, which they've come to expect.
Monday night in Denver their depth could finally be tested. Left cornerback Nick Harper is coming off a concussion, but it's a swollen neck that remains a concern. If he can't play against the Broncos, Reynaldo Hill looks like the likely fill-in, though the Titans also have Kelly Herndon and Eric King available.
Hill started 24 games in 2005 and 2006 as a seventh-rounder out of Florida in 2005. He played well at times, but also could struggle to track the ball. He was always best in zones, which the Titans now use as their preferred coverage.
"As a backup in this league you have to be ready," Hill said. "If (Nick) goes, he goes, if he doesn't I have to be well-prepared. I have been in this situation before my rookie year. I got in there for Andre Woolfolk when he had an ankle injury.
"If I do get in this week I get to re-live that moment and I have to show everybody that I can (do it)."
The Tennessean reports that Harper is scheduled for an MRI Friday to assess the neck issue.
"Leave it up to me and I'm going to play," Harper said before pointing to team doctors and trainers. "But I am going to have to go with them."
Coach Jeff Fisher expressed confidence in Hill but was sure to mention Herndon and King as options too.
"Rey has worked very, very hard against the offense all year whenever given the opportunity to compete and is working hard and if for some reason Nick can't go, Rey will do just fine," Fisher said. "He is in great shape, has worked hard and he is prepared."
Denver Broncos receiver Javon Walker is not going to return to the playing field this week. The Broncos hope he's back soon.
Walker has jogged through warm-up drills in practice this week. After waiting for him to come back from an injured knee since their third game, the Broncos and Walker view that as progress.
Walker has been cautious with the injury, and he said he didn't know when he would return to the playing field.
"Right now, it's just taking it day to day," Walker said. "It's just waiting to see when they think the situation is right."
Walker said he has been frustrated to sit out, but surgery he had on Oct. 19 did alleviate most of the pain in his knee. He said he does still have some soreness, and isn't ready to practice yet.
The Broncos could use his playmaking ability to take pressure off the rest of the offense.
"I'm ready to go out there and help the team win," Walker said. "When you're a competitive person like myself, you get tired of watching football on TV and not being out there to participate."
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