The Texans (1-4) head to Nashville to face the undefeated Tennessee Titans (4-0) after those clowns ignored COVID protocols, got plenty of rest, and blasted the Buffalo Bills at hom, all the while whining and crying as if they’d somehow been victimized by the NFL.
So I’d love to hammer the Titans here, but the truth is, they’re good. They might even be really good. With the way the Texans have played against the run this year, Sunday could be a very ugly day. Hopefully a rejuvenated Deshaun Watson can help this team rise above its issues and steal a win from the division leaders. Let’s see what the Masthead thinks:
Tim: Texans 28, Titans 27.
You read that right. I’m calling this upset pick for a single overriding reason: The Titans are facing an extremely short week after beating the snot out of the previously undefeated Buffalo Bills. That means two games in five days, with Sunday’s game against your 1-4 Houston Texans providing an excellent opportunity for a letdown. If Deshaun Watson and the offense can put some points on the board, especially early, to keep the Titans from running Derrick Henry down the Texans’ throats all afternoon, the Texans can notch their second win of the season.
Chris: Titans 33, Texans 23.
The Texans are on a path to better days, but the damage Bill O’Brien did goes well beyond the gameday product. The defense was basically ignored in the offseason and they will continue to pay a price for that. The Texans jump out to an early lead before the Titans grind them via the run and punish them with play action.
Matt Weston: Titans, 30, Texans 24.
In case you forgot, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a hideous defense. Not only that, it was a hideous defense without the entirety of its pass rush; Josh Allen, the anchor of their front seven, and Myles Jack missed the game, and the Jags had multiple backup defensive backs in who back up bad defensive backs. Last Sunday was a beautiful day, but you have to account for who the opponent was. Brandin Cooks finally won a vertical route, but it was against Chris Claybrooks. The run game was passable at times, but it was against Dakota Allen. Their pass rush was nonexistent, but K’Lavon Chaisson was their best pressure, and he was stuck against Laremy Tunsil. I mean, hell, Miami put 21 points up on Jacksonville on their first three possessions two weeks ago. Hopefully Houston’s offensive production is the result of the Exorcism of the Houston Texans, brought to fruition by expunging that purulent and putrescent demon from the franchise and not just because they played Jacksonville.
If Deshaun is Deshaun and is the best player on the field on Sunday, the Texans have a chance. I hope he is. We all missed him this year, and he needed to be a MVP caliber player for the Texans to have a shot at the postseason entering this season to begin with. He wasn’t through the first four games, and it’s one of the myriad of reasons why Houston started 1-4 to begin with.
The Titans are the better team. They have better coaching. They can’t be stopped in the red zone. Derrick Henry could run for 200 yards. Houston doesn’t have an answer for A.J. Brown. Jeffery Simmons is back. Ryan Tannehill is playing like an MVP this year. Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t even been Clowney after not being in shape entering this season.
bfMFd: BE-SFs 34, Texans 27.
The Baby Eating Sister Fiskers of Methoptamia have a pretty good football team. Sadly.
Fifth by ODVOA and 12th by DDVOA, this is a team that does a lot of things well on both sides of the ball. Somehow, magically, they managed to keep the Great Soaring God of Big Matt, Josh Allen, in check. Running the ball, the Texans couldn’t keep me, much less Derrick Henry, in check.
I liked what I saw from Tim Kelly’s first game unchained from BOB, but the offense still leaves a lot of points on the field.
This should be a genuinely fun game to watch.
Mike: Texans 32, Titans 23.
For a team like the Titans to sit at this juncture undefeated means they’re ripe for an unexpected loss. For it to come in a division game, against an apparently inferior opponent, would be the perfect “any given Sunday,” “that’s why they play the game” scenario.
Jadeveon Clowney will do Clowney things, Houston’s run defense will look like 11 Josh Normans on the field at once, Deshaun Watson will make magic happen. Craziness will ensue.
Through a few strange bounces of the ball and controversial calls, Houston will pull this mistake laden mess out of the fire to get their second win of the Romeo Crennel era as Master Crennel defeats the pupil in Mike Vrabel.
l4blitzer: ex-Oilers 27, Texans 20.
Prior to the BUF/TEN game Tuesday night (Tuesday Night Football that isn’t MACtion? Doesn’t feel right), I might have felt that the Titans were due for a letdown and a possible regression from the seemingly good streak of games going back to the stretch run for the NFL Playoffs. But they thoroughly annihilated a very good and very hot Buffalo team after seeing their season upended by Coronavirus. Hardly the comeuppance expected for a team that apparently disregarded COVID-19 protocols, holding illegal practices, etc. Instead, the Titans sit at 4-0, leading the AFC South and coming into this divisional matchup in great shape against their main nemesis.
Yes, Tennessee is now on a short week, but given the Texans’ issues, especially on defense, I think that the preparations should be relatively simple for the Fightin’ Bud Adamses. The playbook: Run Derrick Henry to the left. Run Derrick Henry to the right, Run Derrick Henry up the middle (*you can use any Titans’ running back for the first three plays). Throw the play-action pass to justify Ryan Tannehill’s contract. Jacksonville, for some reason known only to the Jags, decided that after starting the game off great by running the ball against our rather porous run defense, went away from that last week. The Texans’ defense is not great, but it is especially bad when playing from behind when other teams can run to their hearts’ content. Give the Texans’ D the lead like they had against Jacksonville, and they could be like the Colts’ teams of the mid-late 2000s, where the D only needs to worry about the pass. (Okay, the pass D ain’t great, but have you seen the Texans’ run D?).
I think that Watson and Texans will put up some yards/points, but I can see the Titans turning this into a ball-control slugfest, taking the lead and forcing the Texans to play catch-up. Also, I would not be surprised if some of the Texans are a little leery of their opponents, especially given the recent COVID activity. I am sure they are all testing negative, but any team still under Adams family control wouldn’t be above using some newfound bio-weaponry to get ahead.
The Texans have better than a puncher’s chance here and bring in some momentum. However, until I see them on the field against a team not named Jacksonville continue their improved play, I am leaning towards the other side.
Carlos Flores: Tennessee Meth-Head Trash Pandas 28, Texans 21.
I hate to always be so pessimistic, but I’m not trusting this defense for one second. Tennessee is going to set the tone and run all over the place. We received a break with Jacksonville’s incompetent play calling to move away from the run. That won’t happen this week, and T.O.P is going to be ridiculously one sided.
I think the Texans’ offense will stay spread out and Deshaun will manage to get things moving in the second quarter. This Tennessee defense is no joke, so expect Watson to be running for his life. We won’t crack 70 yards rushing.
After all the trouble that Tennessee has caused with their COVID issues lately, I wish that we could curb-stomp them for the rest of the league. However, I just can’t reasonably see that happening.
Can the Texans withstand Tennessee’s ground attack? Can they manage to not blow assignments in the secondary when the Titans go play action? Use the comments section to predict the outcome and above all else, enjoy the game!