Sep 9, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates a sack against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Dolphins 30-10. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Texans vs Titans Preview: Defense


The Houston Texans set a franchise record last week going 3-0 for the first time ever. I look for the Texans to extend that winning streak to four games this week against a struggling Tennessee team.

The Titans defense has been bad this year, ranking 30th in passing yards per game and 28th in rushing yards per game.

Sep 23, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) hands off to running back Chris Johnson (28) against the Detroit Lions during the first half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Lions 44-41 in overtime. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson has been the biggest fantasy disappointment in just about every league this year. He has just 45 yards on 33 carries this year and hasn’t shown any sign that it will stop soon.

Jason Peters, editor of Titan Size, places a portion of the blame on the offense, but a majority on Johnson for not having the lateral quickness that allowed for big runs in seasons past.

The Texans run defense has been the one slight problem they’ve had this year, and Chris Johnson has had career days against the Texans in the past. If the Titans stand a chance at winning this game it will be because of that man.

Jake Locker

Jake Locker has been a phenomenal player ever since he took over for Matt Hasselbeck. His biggest problem today will be that Kenny Britt won’t suit up and Nate Washington got hurt last week meaning Kendall Wright and Jared Cook will be his only real targets today.

If the Titans win today it will require Locker making big plays. The Texans are too good to get nickel and dimed down the field and thus Kendall Wright will be Locker’s favorite target today.

Unfortunately, the Texans have made quarterbacks look bad this season and Johnathan Joseph is one of the best cover corners in the NFL, thus Locker probably won’t find his first round pick often today.

More unfortunate for the young quarterback is the year the J.J. Watt is having getting to the quarterback. He has been an unstoppable force this season in keeping the quarterback from getting into a rhythm whether by deflecting passes or through sacks. Look for J.J. to extend his sack streak today against an overall porous offensive line.

Front Seven

The Texans front seven is arguably the best in the NFL. With all of them having the ability to rush the passer effectively and play the run efficiently it scares just about every offensive coordinator.

Connor Barwin should get his first sack today to legitimize the fact that he is having, by far, his best season as a Texan. Brian Cushing will show that his name should be mentioned with the likes of Patrick Willis and Troy Polamalu for having a nose for the ball and always being there to make the tackle.

The most exciting thing that can come from today is that if the Texans build a big enough lead we may get to see a little more of our first round pick, Whitney Mercilus.

Special Teams

Could this be the week that we finally see Trindon Holliday break out? I say yes.

The Titans will be outplayed in all three facets of the game this week and while their special teams looked great last week I doubt they will put up that kind of production this week against a much better defense and special teams.

The punt and kick coverage for the Texans has been good this year with the exception of the return for touchdown given up against Miami in week 1.

Trindon Holliday has shown sparks in the regular season. He’s shown he can average 10 yards per punt return, it’s just getting passed that second level that he’s been having problems with. This will be the week that he breaks by the coverage and makes a SportsCenter that actually matters.

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