After one week, the Texans stand 1-0 tied for first on the division. This week is an in-division game against the Titans. If you’re headed to the game, make sure you have your white jerseys on for “Liberty White” day. With all the smack talk going on this past week this game should get pretty feisty. Here is my preview and predictions for today’s game.
12:00 PM CT, September 15, 2013
Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
It took the Texans almost two halves to get the offense rolling, but it rolled just in time to secure a victory. When the Texans were down, it was Matt Schaub that helped lead the team to victory. Schaub knew the only way he could pull it off was to use (future Hall-Of-Fame) receiver, Andre Johnson. Johnson ended the game with 12 catches for 146 yards when all was said and done, but it wasn’t just Johnson whom Schaub connected with throughout the game. Tight end’s Owen Daniels (5) and Garrett Graham (4) caught a total of 9 passes including all three of the Texans offensive touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins was a also a big factor as he hauled in five catches for 66 yards, four of them going for first downs.
The Texans also had some success running the ball. Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined for 35 total touches and 152 total yards. When the Texans run the ball for more than 25 times a game, it usually means the Texans win. Foster looked a bit rusty in the Monday night affair and the Texans may decide to use Tate more today. Tate had a lot more pop to his step against the Chargers and has earned his share of carries. Both running backs are very competitive and are sure to give it their all to stay in the game.
The big problem on Monday night was the Texans offensive line, specifically the left side. Both Duane Brown and Wade Smith looked terrible in week 1. The running game averaged almost one less yard per run when they ran to the left. The younger right side of the line was much better. Though Derek Newton missed an assignment here and there, he and Brandon Brooks were able to clear openings for the running backs. The Titans have an above average defensive line and are sure to give the Texans all they’ve got. Duane Brown will need to fair a lot better as he protects Schaub’s blindside.
The difference on defense between the first half and the second half was night and day. The Texans Antonio Smith‘less D-Line failed to provide much of a pass rush in the first half. The defense finally showed up once the Texans allowed 28 points through the first 35 minutes. J.J. Watt and Earl Mitchell were able to make some mouse up front while the secondary stepped up their game. As mentioned in the previous article, Watt owned the Titans last season, and will be counted on for a big game today. The Titans allowed just one sack last week, though that number should rise today.
The linebackers will be busy today with Chris Johnson in the backfield. Though Johnson ran for just 70 yards on 25 rushes, Johnson is capable of breaking free for a big run at any second. Both Joe Mays and Brian Cushing will be responsible for keeping Johnson in check up the middle. If Whitney Mercilus or Brooks Reed fail to keep containment, it could lead to a big run if the secondary can’t get their in time.
The Texans secondary didn’t fair to well in the first half. Both Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph held their own against the Chargers, but nickel corner, Brice McCain couldn’t keep up with Eddie Royal. Both Joseph and Jackson shouldn’t be to busy today as Locker only completed 11 passes against the Steelers last week. Shiloh Keo gets another start as Ed Reed is a game-time decision. If Reed plays, he will be on a limited snap-count and will only be used if needed.
Score: Texans – 31 – Titans – 17
- J.J. Watt continues his dominance of the Titans O-Line with 2.5 sacks and a pass deflection
- Foster fares much better this week, running for over 100 yards on 20 rushes + a TD
- DeAndre Hopkins‘ first game in Reliant goes exceptionally well. 7 rec, 135 yards and 2 TD’s!
- Randy Bullock‘s FG is from 49 yards out.
- One TD comes from someone other than the offense. Defense? Special Teams? You decide!
What do you think Texans fans? Sound off in the comments below or tweet me @YoniPollak.