Week 8 is here, and the Houston Texans are up against a division rival — the Tennessee Titans — who are sitting on top of the AFC South. The Titans have one of the best run games in the NFL, but the Texans have struggled to stop the run.
Who will step up this week in hopes of a win and beating a rival in the South?
1. Christian Harris
The Houston Texans finally got their lightning-quick linebacker Christian Harris on the field after recovering from an injury. The Alabama speedster was a machine in college, and the Texans expect him to continue his success.
Harris has all the tools to become a solid linebacker in the NFL. With the recent release of Kamu Grugier-Hill, Harris is expected to fill the void left behind. Grugier-Hill was an essential piece to the defense but struggled this year.
Harris was against the Raiders in his rookie debut but showed some promise. He is by far the fasted linebacker on the field at all times, but he struggles to complete tackles. This week the Texans face off against a division rival, the Titans. Derrick Henry had no issues running all over the Texans’ defense in the past. Harris has to make a significant impact on Sunday if Houston want to keep Henry in check and have the potential to win.
2. Dameon Pierce
This week we get to see the king of the AFC South, Derrick Henry, against the young and hungry Dameon Pierce, who is creeping on his tail as the new big-name running back.
Pierce has yet to disappoint when given the opportunity, but this week will be quite a difficult test. The Titans are near the top of the league with stopping the run. The Titans are at the top of the AFC South, but Pierce is itching at the potential to take out the Titans and run all over their defense.
It looks like the Texans will be without Nico Collins, who has begun to break out this season. Without Collins, the offense will rely on Pierce to continue running the show. The team needs a win, and if Pierce plays out of his mind and takes down the Titans, Houston fans will be forever grateful for his performance.
3. The Texans receivers
The Texans desperately need someone to step up this week. Without Collins, the receiving core looks to be Brandin Cooks and no one else. The team recently added Tyron Johnson this past week. Johnson is a lightning bolt who can run past any defensive back, but he has yet to build chemistry with quarterback Davis Mills.
Cooks is the primary passing weapon that Mills will rely on. Even though Cooks hasn’t performed at the level fans are accustomed to, he will need to rewind his ability and play out of his mind this week.
The Texans can’t run the ball every single down. If the team hopes to win this week and hand a loss to a division rival, receiving core must step up. Look for players like Jordan Akins and Brevin Jordan to replace Collins, as they both have proven to be quality pass catchers and will be needed more than ever on Sunday.