Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
Sunday, September 20th, 12:00 CST
LP Field, Nashville, TN
Kickoff Temperature: 76 degrees, 60% chance of precipitation
Line: Titans by 7
Three most important things for the Texans on defense:
1. Stop the run. Houston has been gashed on the ground during the preseason and in the season opener. Tennessee makes their living running the football and the Texans defense must stiffen if they will have a chance in this one.
2. No big plays. The Texans secondary must do a better job of limiting big plays, especially against a team like Tennessee that is so good at getting a lead and then grinding the game away.
3. Beware of the screen. The Titans are as good of a screen team as anyone, and they will use it with the ultra-speedy Chris Johnson, as well as with the tight ends.
Three most important things for the Texans on offense:
1. Protect Matt Schaub. The Titans have a fierce pass rush and Houston may have to go to some max protect formations to give Schaub time to find his explosive wideouts.
2. Dink and dunk. Matt Schaub may not have time to run many seven-step drops so the best way of attacking the Titans defense is by getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands quickly.
3. Try to establish some sort of rushing attack. In a perfect world, most teams would like to run the ball to set up the passing game. That's very difficult against the Tennessee Titans so the best course of attack for the Texans may be to use the pass to set up the run.
What to look for:
1. Look for a steady dose of Chris Johnson and LenDale White for the Titans. The Titans love to run the football behind that fantastic offensive line and the Texans have had trouble stopping the run.
2. Look for Jared Cook to be used in the passing game. Cook had a great preseason and gives the Titans passing attack an added dimension.
3. Look for Steve Slaton to struggle. Few teams stop the run better than the Titans. Don't expect Slaton to get anywhere near the century mark.
4. Look for the Texans to force two or more turnovers if they are going to win. Houston can't beat the Titans unless they take advantage of mistakes.
5. Look for the Titans to dominate TOP. Tennessee plays close to the vest and that involves the Titans controlling the clock.
Sleeper watch: James Casey, Justin Gage