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.
While there is plenty to discuss about the Titans offensive problems, this discussion is primarily about the Texans offense and thus the Titans defense.
Don’t expect a big day out of Matt Schaub. While the Texans have shown that they certainly trust the veteran quarterback to open games thus far this season, the Texans are heavy favorites in this game and will likely give the Titans a heavy dose of their rushing attack.
Schaub will see a majority of his passing attempts come in the first half, so he will be more or less in charge of earning the Texans their lead. His job will be significantly easier this year because as opposed to being covered by his nemesis, Courtland Finnegan, Andre Johnson will be covered by Jason McCourty.
If the Texans are able to put a decent running game it makes Schaub an even deadlier threat via play-action.
Schaub could be the player of the game when it’s all said and done, but I look for the running game to build, and sustain, a lead early and often today.
The combination of Arian Foster and Ben Tate have proven to be the best running back tandem in the league every week this season. The Texans can probably win this game even if the running game is rendered ineffective, but I look for a total of about 250 yards rushing as a team today.
If the Texans can get Tate going early to punish tacklers it will make Foster’s job that much easier in the second half as he patiently waits for holes to open.
When I discussed the game earlier this week with the editor of Titan Size, Jason Peters, he talked about how the Titans have lost the time of possession battle regularly by “about 3:1.” If the Titans are that inept at controlling the clock, the running game will take advantage of that and should at least hold a 3:1 time of possession ratio.
Andre Johnson is salivating this morning. Instead of playing against the only player to ever successfully get under his skin, Andre is playing against Jason McCourty.
Andre should take advantage of the less physical corner and rack up 100 yards today. I don’t know whether Andre has lost a step and that’s why he hasn’t put up his average career numbers, or if it is just Dennison and Kubiak taking advantage of whatever the defense is showing them. Whatever it is, Johnson should be open all day today making it pretty hard for Schaub to not look for his favorite target.
The tight ends should have a field day today as well, if last year is anything to measure by. More than anything I’m hoping to see Foster finally show his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something he has had problems with this year.
The line should push the Titans around today. With a seven man rotation up front we will keep our guys rested and pound the ball down the throat of a team that is not playing the run very well this season.
On the surface it sounds like a bold prediction that the line will not give up a sack today, however, when you consider that I doubt Schaub comes out to throw the ball more than 5 times today in a three-receiver set or without play-action.
The defense won’t get the chance to pin their ears back and rush the passer today and the offensive line will push them back on running plays.