After a performance few saw coming, the Houston Texans return home to take on the Tennessee Titans. The Texans have only won one of their first three games while the Titans have won twice. This weekend’s game will be a battle of the two teams who expect to compete for the division title.
Even with a breakout performance from Deshaun Watson, the Houston passing offense still ranks 31st in the NFL averaging 166.7 yards per game. Texans quarterbacks have thrown for three touchdowns and three interceptions, not exactly eye popping numbers. There is still room for improvement as the Texans lead the league in sacks allowed (15). This is a direct result of the absence of Duane Brown. A change in offensive philosophy eliminated this issue last week as Watson was only sacked twice. A continuation of the new offensive strategy will be essential for Houston’s success.
Houston wil continue to rely on their seventh-ranked rushing attack to carry them to victory. Averaging 128.7 yards per game on the ground will aid their cause in what hopes to be a rebound week for Houston, The rushing offense has relied on equal contributions from Lamar Miller and Deshaun Watson. Miller and Watson combined for 97 yards on 22 attempts last week. As long as Houston can rely on Watson and Miller to carry the bulk of the load and have D’Onta Foreman contribute when needed they will continue to be able to stay competitive in games.
The Texans pass defense is currently ranked 17th in yards allowed per game (225) and rush defense is ranked 16th in yards allowed per game (98.7). Houston’s defense has eight sacks which ranks 11th overall. In regards to turnovers Houston is dead last in interceptions (0) and tied for third with two fumble recoveries. Houston must force more turnovers defensively.
Tennessee ranks 16th in passing offense with 230.3 yards per game and ranks second in rushing offense with 156.3 yards per game. Marcus Mariota appears rushing less than in yards past as DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are far and away leading the Titans in rushes and rushing yards. The leading receiving targets are Delanie Walker, Eric Decker and Richard Matthews, they have accounted for the majority of receptions and receiving yards.
Defensively the Titans have allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game (275) and are 17th overall in rushing yards per game allowed (92.3). Tennessee ranks 27th in sacks with five, 14th in interceptions with two and 15th in fumble recoveries with one. These are not exactly numbers that jump off the page and these numbers suggest that their defense can be beaten quite easily.
Houston must take advantage of Tennessee’s porous defense while containing their rushing attack. Tennessee can run the ball effectively and Houston has not exactly been a stout rush defense. if Houston can play to their strengths while exposing Tennessee’s defense, a win on Sunday is entirely possible.