After escaping Denver with a close win the Houston Texans are headed back home to Reliant Stadium in Houston to face off with the Tennessee this Sunday at 1:00 ET on CBS. With the win last week against the Broncos the Texans secured the franchises first ever 3-0 start to a season and now look to keep building on this seasons success this week against the Titans.
The offense clicked on all cylinders last weekend in the tight game against the Broncos. The Texans were able to put 31 points up in 3 quarters of play and were able to really use the run to open up big plays off the play action and they’ll look to do the same this week against a Titans defense coming off a week in which they allowed the Detroit Lions to score 41 points. I expect a heavy dose of play action this week. This should open up the field for routes over the middle of the field and deep balls over the top of the Titans secondary. Last year the 2 teams split the season series with the Texans winning big in Tennessee 41-7 and losing their season finale to the Titans 22-23 going for a 2 point conversion to end the game. Another thing to note is that the Texans didn’t play a single starter in that game as they were getting rested for the franchises 1st playoff game. In the game the Texans won they had 518 total yards with 234 of that coming from Arian Foster alone. Back up RB Ben Tate had a great game as well as both Texans RB’s went over 100 yards. Knowing that going into it I wouldn’t think Gary Kubiak goes with the same game plan. The Titans on average are giving up 150 rushing yards a game and 312 passing yards a game. A defense that gives up that much yardage should give a good offense options on either way most of the time. This is something I see the Texans taking advantage of picking up a lot of 1st downs and eating up clock all day on offense. Unlike previous years the Titans don’t have a physical CB to match up with Andre Johnson on a down to down basis. He should benefit from this much like Calvin Johnson did last week against the Titans.
The Texans have faced 1 rookie QB and 1 2nd year starter in Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert, and already it was shown that the defense was much more effective against those 2 teams. Now they’ll try to put the Titans 2nd year QB Jake Locker through the gauntlet this week. DE JJ Watt seems to be unstoppable as of right now. I thought last week would give a pretty good gauge of his progression considering the Broncos have a good offensive line and Manning doesn’t stand in the pocket long. Watt still had a huge game coming up with 2.5 sacks and was always around the football all game long. Now he’ll take his shot at Titans QB Jake Locker and RB Chris Johnson. Watt’s shown an inept ability to swat balls at the line since college and had been very disruptive this year. Watt was so much a presence last week I can’t remember the Broncos throwing to his side of the line all game. Locker will have to keep this in mind all game, even under pressure and so far it’s been hard for QB’s to do. OLB Conner Barwin led the team in sacks last year and has yet to record one this year, but this could be his breakout game. With a lot of attention going to JJ Watt Barwin might get the 1 on1 blocking he was getting at smoe points last year. If so he should have a huge game I 2-3 sacks and a couple tackles in the backfield. Another defensive match up to watch will be on the outside this week. Texans CB Jonathan Joseph and the rest of the secondary have been great so far this season and the Titans come into this game without a distinguished #1 WR. This could be a huge plus for the Texans this week. So far Locker’s favorite target has been Nate Washington and if Joseph is on him he’ll be looking to undercut routes and make big plays. Titans RB Chris Johnson has struggled this year to get going so far, but the Texans know what the speedy back is capable of. They’ll keep people stacked in the bow most of the game in all run situations and Wade Phillips will be dialing up the heat this week to slow Johnson for at least 1 more game. Stopping Johnson is the key to winning for the Texans, I believe they’ll start there and let the rest fall into place on defense this week.