This week the Texans are set to begin a 3 week road trip starting with the former Houston franchise, the Tennessee Titans. The Titans record is 1-5, but they have played well against some very good teams, including losing to the Colts by just 1 point. Here are a few players that the Texans will have to keep their eye on, both offensively and defensively.
Of course the potential threat of Titans QB Vince Young can't be ignored. While Young hasn't yet proven himself to be a force through the air, his mobility makes him a big weapon for the Titans. Young has completed only 48% of his passes, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions so far this season, but is averaging more rushing yards per carry than all of Houston's running backs but Wali Lundy.
RB Travis Henry is the Titans main offensive weapon, gaining nearly 5 yards every time he's handed the ball. If the Texans defensive front can put a stop to the running threat created by Henry and Young, it should be a good day to be a Texan.
Texans CBs Dunta Robinson and Demarcus Faggins have the talent to shut down the Titans passing game, which is essentially WR Drew Bennett. WR Bobby Wade and TE Bo Scaife have also stepped up for the Titans, but Bennett is far and away the favorite target. The Texans secondary was very weak early in the season, but with the return of Faggins last week the Texans defensive backs should be able to cover the Titans without problem.
Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch has been the biggest threat to opposing quarterbacks this year, leading the team with 2 sacks. Right side OLB Keith Bullock is the Titans leading tackler by far with 54 tackles this season (37 solo), but that may be due to the fact that he's been playing behind two relative newcomers to the NFL in DT Randy Starks and DE Travis LaBoy.
One person Texans fans will keep their eyes on is DT Robaire Smith, who was released by the Texans earlier in the year before signing with the Titans. Smith had the best season of his career last year with the Texans, and it came as a surprise to many when the Texans handed him his walking papers. I expect this game will be somewhat personal for Smith and he will be looking to prove something to his former team.
The key to winning this game will be turnovers. The Texans must take advantage of any mistake rookie QB Young makes. Fumble recoveries could turn the game in favor of one team over the other. The Titans have recovered 15 of 21 fumbles so far this season, while the Texans have recovered 11 of 16.
If the Texans can stay aware and play smart, this should be an easy game on paper. But because of the emotions that will run high between these two teams, you never know what can happen.