Whew! The Texans escaped a potential 0-1 start after scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half against the Chargers. This week brings a different team to Reliant Stadium. The Tennessee Titans come to town after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on opening day. This battle is sure to be a feisty one between both 1-0 AFC South teams. Let’s take a look at what to watch for in today’s Texans – Titans game.
- The Ninja’s Return – Antonio Smith makes his 2013 debut with the Texans, after serving a one-game suspension for swinging a helmet towards a player. Though Jared Crick played well in his time last week, Smith brings a ferociousness to the Texans D-Line (as well as a weekly offsides penalty) that the Texans could use opposite J.J. Watt. Look for Smith to have lots of energy today against the Titans.
- The Running Back Carousel – Last week, Arian Foster (18) and Ben Tate (9) carried the ball a total of 27 times against the Chargers. Tate was the more effective back, and may be in line for even more carries against the Titans. The media was talking up a potential rift between the two running backs but all is good between the two. It will be interesting to see how the Texans handle the situation throughout the year.
- Do They Have A Chance? – To say J.J. Watt dominated the Titans O-Line last season would be an understatement. In two games against the Titans, Watt recorded 11 tackles, four sacks, two pass deflections, and one forced fumble. The Titans number one draft priority in April was to get some protection for Jake Locker. The Titans selected Chance Warmack, a guard from the University of Alabama. Warmack’s first big test is today. Chance, say hello to Mr. Watt.
- Smack Talk – The Titans and Texans have been talking all week and it is sure to lead to some major smack talk on the field. Here is one example from a Paul Kuharsky (ESPN) article earlier this past week talking about Jurrell Casey of the Titans;
Later, regarding the Texans, he told some of us: “We’re going to go out there and make sure we put our foot up their (butt). Sorry about the cuss word.”
My colleague Tania Ganguli took that to Brian Cushing who had a good response.
“Good luck,” Cushing said. “He was real quiet at SC, I don’t know what happened to him. He used to be a nice kid.”
The Texans and Titans game should be a good one today. Check back soon for my Texans/Titans preview and predictions. Go Texans!