In week 2 of the NFL season the Houston Texans have a home game against a divisional rival in the Tennessee Titans. Both teams started the season with wins as the Titans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-9. The Texans are 8-14 all time against the Titans. That includes being only 4-7 against them at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Texans will be looking to continue the recent success they’ve had against the Titans winning 3 of the teams last 4 meetings, including a season sweep last year.
Keys for the Texans on offense:
1. The running game: It’s no secret that the Texans love to run the ball to set up their play action pass game. Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate will have to be productive this week if the Texans hope to pull it out against this Titans defense. Last week Arian Foster showed some frustration because of his lack of touches against the Chargers. I’m sure he’ll see more time this week after finishing the game without any injuries or concerns. Coach Gary Kubiak said “Arian is at his best when he touches the ball around 25 times.” So I’m expecting him to get at least amount of carriers this week, with Tate getting around 10-12.
2. Matt Schaub: The Texans QB had a rough start to this season, as his first pass attempt was tipped and intercepted last week. After that, Schaub buckled down and led his team back from being down by 21. Schaub has been the brunt of a lot of criticism from the media since the team’s playoff loss to the Patriots. Schaub knows he’ll have to continue to be on his game all year not just one game. Last week when he completed 34-45 passes for 346 and 3 TD’s, and only 5 incompletions the whole second half of the game there was no questioning his will to win. The Texans will be looking for him to play just as good against the young and aggressive defensive line of the Titans.
Keys for the Texans on defense:
1. DE JJ Watt: Last week the Texans DE and reigning DPOY made some big plays at the end of the game to help get his team the win. Even
though Watt did make some big plays to help his team to victory, he didn’t get a sack last week against the Chargers. Watt had 4 sacks in 2 games against the Titans last season, and he’ll be looking to continue to be a problem for this Titans offensive line. The Texans know they’ll have to get to Jake Locker when he drops back to pass to limit the damage of Titans RB Chris Johnson, and Watt could come up big playing against the young Titans QB Jake Locker.
2. OLB Whitney Mercilus: With JJ Watt getting lots of attention with double team’s I expect to see Whitney Mercilus making plays this week against the Titans. Mercilus got a sack last week against the Chargers and is looking to make this year a double digit sack season. Playing against a young QB that may be forced to throw early if the Texans take an early lead, Mercilus may get the opportunity to make some big plays. If Mercilus isn’t sacking the QB he’ll be looking to tip some passes from the line of scrimmage for his and try to be difference maker for this defense on Sunday.
3. Limiting Chris Johnson: The Texans first goal of this game will be to stop the running game of the Titans. It’s no secret that the Titans love to get Chris Johnson the ball and let him make plays in space. The Texans will be looking to stop Johnson and score early to force the Titans to count on the arm of Jake Locker. Last season Locker was a combined 23-46 for 1 TD, 3 INT’s, and 3 fumbles lost. If the Texans are able to put the pressure on Locker to win this game they’ll be exactly where they want to be on Sunday.