Written by: Joseph Yun
The AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans travel to rival Houston with every intention to clinch the division after a dispiriting loss to the Packers last Sunday night. Can the Texans spoil the party and allow for the Colts to have some hope? There are unlikely scenarios that Tennessee misses the playoffs outright but it’s win and in for seemingly the nth year in a row.
Will J.J. Watt’s stirring speech have any effect for the hapless Texans to spur them on to an upset victory over a hated rival?
This article and future weekly articles were written with the assistance of the Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia, which you can buy a PDF or hard cover copy here. The Encyclopedia has many features such as prospects, top team stars, and other countless data points to expand your knowledge of the game.
Key Numbers + Info (2020 season)
Record: 4-11 (2-3 AFC South)
Points scored: 346
Points allowed: 423
Avg. yards per rush: 4.2
Avg. yards per rush allowed: 5.0
Avg. rush yards per game: 91.3
Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 151.73
Rushing TDs: 9 for, 20 against
Avg. pass yards per game: 278.46
Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 260
Passing TDs: 30 for, 29 against
Pass Completion Rate: 70%
Pass Completion Rate Against: 70%
Top Rusher: David Johnson (133 attempts for 607 yards and five touchdowns)
Top Receiver: Brandin Cooks (70 receptions for 984 yards and four touchdowns)
Top Tackler: Zach Cunningham (151 tackles, six tackles for loss, two passes defensed)
Key Additions: WR Brandin Cooks, RB David Johnson, Ross Blacklock (rookie), OT Charlie Heck (rookie)
Key Losses: WR DeAndre Hopkins, WR Randall Cobb (injury), DT D.J. Reader, S Justin Reid (injury), LB Benardrick McKinney (injury), OT Tytus Howard (injury), EDGE Whitney Mercilus (COVID19), CB Gareon Conley (injury), WR Will Fuller (Suspension), CB Bradley Roby (Suspension)
Tennessee leads the all time series 20-17
What Happened In The Last Game?
Derrick Henry ran wild for 212 yards and two touchdowns in a heartstopping overtime walk off victory. It was a back and forth second half in which the teams traded touchdowns until the dying embers of the fourth quarter. Henry took over in overtime and Tennessee sealed the deal.
Keys to a Titans Victory
- Spy 4 - The Texans aren’t completely devoid of weapons but it is close and Mr. Watson is the engine. It goes without saying that the Titans’ pass defense is beyond abysmal and won’t be fixed anytime soon. They need to take away Brandin Cooks as he is the only receiver that resembles a serviceable NFL receiver. Keke Coutee is another if he’s healthy (which isn’t a guarantee most weeks). The uber athletic Watson is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL and he torches the Titans on the regular.
- Feed the King - The 2020 rushing champion has an outside chance to get to 2,000 yards so the team will be hyper aware going into Sunday afternoon. The fear of Henry going off will intimidate the depleted Texans defense into allowing Ryan Tannehill a good game.
- Get Right - Last week was a complete disaster for Tennessee all around. Yet again they are faced with the prospect of a “win and in” somewhat with the AFC South title on the line. The wounded Texans defense is a perfect opportunity for them to get right just before the playoffs begin. Can they bounce back and take the division away from the lurking Colts?
Keys to a Texans Victory
- Front Seven - Go at the Titans’ weakened front seven. Rashaan Evans is a walking liability and the stop unit is severely missing the injured Jayon Brown. Utilize both Johnson brothers out of the backfield against the subpar pass coverage linebackers.
- Spoiler Alert - Houston has secured third place in the South by virtue of better record than Jacksonville but it doesn’t mean that they can’t ruin the rival Titans designs on winning the division. It’s the last week of a long and trying season with an interim staff, why not empty the playbook and go for broke? The Titans will be looking elsewhere so they might get caught unawares.
Blitzalytics Prospect Encyclopedia Prospects of the Week
3. EDGE Charles Omenihu
- Omenihu has shown flashes of his potential throughout his brief career but has yet to put it together due to various injuries. He has some talent and the pressure is on him to succeed due to the litany of injuries elsewhere on the line. He’s an intriguing young talent on a team that’s heavily reliant on its veterans. Omenihu has three sacks and 13 quarterback hits.
What are the odds?
(all odds are courtesy of vegasinsider.com)
DraftKings has the Titans as 7.5 point favorites at -345 while the Texans are +290 dogs. The over/under has been set at 56.
The WestGate Superbook has the Titans as 7.5 point favorites at -370 while the Texans are +310 dogs. The over/under has been set at 56.
William Hill has the Titans as 7.5 point favorites at -380 while the Texans are +310 dogs. The over/under has been set at 56.5