D.J. Reader is x-factor for Houston Texans against Tennessee Titans

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images /

D.J. Reader is the key to the Houston Texans getting a win against the Tennessee Titans.

If the Houston Texans are going to come away with their second win of the season this coming Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, they will need defensive tackle D.J. Reader to have a big game.

With the Titans being a run-first team with running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, Reader is this week’s x-factor for Houston.

The Titans have a good offense that relies mostly on their running game. Now of course quarterback Marcus Mariota can make things happen with his arm as well as his feet, but the key to this week’s game is shutting down Murray and Henry.

The Texans don’t need Reader to make every tackle. All they need him to do is take up space and be enough of a disruptive force in order to make the Titans double team him.

This will in turn free up guys like Bernardrick McKinney, Whitney Mercilus, Zach Cunningham and others to come in and plug up the running lanes, leaving nowhere for Murray and Henry to go.

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The Texans need Reader to eat up enough space to disrupt the Titans’ running game. If he can do that, it will force Tennessee to throw the ball more, which will allow guys like Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt to get after Mariota on passing downs.

The one down side to making the Titans throw the football, is that the Texans’ secondary has been struggling lately. All they can do is hope that their front seven is able to disrupt Mariota enough so he doesn’t have the time he needs in the pocket.