It's been a pretty big week for Houston Texans fans. Suddenly, our beloved squad is being mentioned at one of the best, if not the best, team(s) in the league. With good reason--the Texans look strong. The defense is staffed by freaks of nature and coordinated by a genius. The offense is teeming with weapons and a QB so tough that he thinks people with two ears are pansies. The special teams...well, I hear they're quick with a joke or to light up your smoke, so that's something. These are truly the salad days of Texans fandom. It feels weird, but I could get used to this.
Naturally, we won't be able to get used to this. A loss--a few losses, even--is coming. Will Sunday be the first one? SPOILER ALERT: No. Before we get to what will surely be the final score (Ed. Note: You'd do better to just whip darts [or knives, if you're a really tough customer like BFD] at a row of random numbers than put any stock into my predictions), please allow me to build to a dramatic crescendo with three (3) other items that shall come to pass before approximately 3:30 p.m. CDT at Reliant Stadium.
1. I have lost count of the number of times I've read this week how awful Tennessee is at defending tight ends. One such time was from ESPN.com's Matthew Berry (fantasy-related, but it works here) who, in singing the praises of Owen Daniels this week, wrote:
So, I mentioned the Lions being second-worst against the tight end above. You know who is worst? That's right class, the Titans. And it's not close. Opposing quarterbacks have completed a league high 80 percent of their passes when targeting tight ends against the Titans. Want more? They've allowed 28 receptions by tight ends for 288 yards, five touchdowns and 17 first downs, all league highs. And then you look at Daniels, tied for sixth among tight end targets, and you smile.
Thus, it's hardly bold for me to tell you that Owen Daniels is going to finish with five catches for 72 yards and a TD. In an effort to stupefy you with my boldness, I will also tell you that Garrett Graham contributes two receptions for 23 yards and that pseudo-TE James Casey adds another three for 38 yards.
2. I'm still not a believer in Jake Locker. He's not Blaine Gabbert bad, but I truly question how a guy who was so inaccurate in college can make a quantum leap to the level of accuracy required to be a good QB in the NFL. I imagine Tennessee fans are pumped about what they perceive to be significant growth from Locker in two out of his first three games this year, and I'm sure I'd feel the same way if I was in their shoes.
Go ahead. You know you want to make the joke. I put it on a tee for you.
Indeed, perhaps not all Tennessee fans wear shoes. Well played.
Anyway, back to Locker. I need to see much more from him for me to believe he's the kind of QB who'll haunt the Texans for the next decade. I already have that fear of Andrew Luck, and I'm quite sure I won't ever have that fear of Gabbert. I'm guessing after Sunday, when Jake Locker throws at least two interceptions, I won't be any closer to worrying that he'll keep me up at night.
3. Lightning-fast predictions on various other Texans:
a. Matt Schaub throws for three TDs and does not turn the ball over.
b. Arian Foster rushes for 92 yards and catches one of the aforementioned Schaub TD passes.
c. Sufficiently chastened by his time last week in Kubes' House For Those Who Fail To Protect The Ball, Ben Tate adds 62 rushing yards and a TD of his own.
d. Andre Johnson accounts for a TD as well.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: It's a heated, intradivisional game. On that basis alone, it'd be easy to project that Sunday's tilt will be a close contest. That would conveniently ignore the fact that Bud Adams' team does not appear to be very good at football. Admittedly, the Texans of years past won a few games they shouldn't when they weren't very good at football, but not against teams that were as markedly better and complete as these Texans are in relation to the current crop of Titans. If the Titans are to win this game, it would almost surely require at least three (3) turnovers by the Texans, plus a special teams gaffe. I do not see that happening. Bud Adams' Army of Darkness 13, Texans 31.