The Jeff Driskel, Tight End, Era begins Sunday. Where will you be? Will you witness??
After an intense week of reflection and evaluation, the new look Texans will come in weapons-hot Sunday with CB Lonnie Johnson and TE Jeff Driskel ready to kick off Houston’s massive 2021 turnaround. This, along with the big-brain realization that penalties, turnovers, penalties, penalties, turnovers and turnover penalties, as well as penalty turnovers, are the root cause of Houston’s issues (cue sitcom laugh track) should jumpstart the Texans’ run back to relevancy.
So let’s see how the BRB staff sees Phase 1 of this team’s return to greatness going:
Matt Weston: Titans 31, Texans 13.
The Tennessee Titans’ bizarre brand of football has infected the rest of the NFL. Strange penalties, special teams anomalies, running the ball, play action, funky turnovers, and red zone witchcraft. Terrible things happen when the Titans have the best record in the NFL. Matthew Stafford can no longer throw the ball downfield. Derrick Henry’s foot is broken. Kliff Kingsbury is running a competent offense. Lamar Jackson is running the best bad team. Everything is in disarray, and there is only one team to blame.
The Titans will keep trucking this weekend. D’Onta Foreman is their best running back and he can get his revenge this weekend. Ryan Tannehill’s play action passing is better than anything Houston can deal with, especially now they are trying to play man coverage but can’t blitz and don’t have an answer for A.J. Brown. If the Texans play Cover Three, the middle of the field will be wide open. Tennessee’s front four pass rush is something Houston’s constantly evolving offensive line can’t hang with. Kristian Fulton is back to deal with Brandin Cooks. Kevin Byard pounces on mistakes quarterbacks make dealing with the pass rush.
The Texans will kind of win this week. Randy Bullock, David Quesseneberry, Kendall Lamm, Mike Vrabel, Ben Jones, and Foreman have found better homes and dumber pastures. From Houston’s rubble, the Titans thrive.
bfMFd: Texans 57, Titans 0 teeth.
Look, I don’t care. If you think I will ever pick the Baby-Eating Sister F__kers of Methoptamia to ever do anything good, you haven’t been paying attention all these years.
Kitten the BE-SFs.
l4blitzer: Titans 31, Texans 7.
This is an interesting stretch for the Titans. While riding a current league-best six-game winning streak, they are facing the prospect of playing games without two of their most dangerous weapons. Derrick Henry is out for the foreseeable future and their key offensive offseason acquisition, Julio Jones, is out for the next three weeks at least. For Tennessee, their defense has been playing at levels few expected, and it is hard to know if that can carry over for the season and especially the postseason. During this recent streak, the Titans haven’t been feasting on the cupcakes of the NFL, having felled Buffalo, Kansas City and the LA Rams, plus completing a divisional sweep against Indianapolis. Yet without Henry and questions about the sustainability of play of that defense, along with other teams like Buffalo, Kansas City and Baltimore still in the hunt, it is fair to ask whether the Titans can still keep their position of prominence within the AFC and remain an actual Super Bowl contender come January.
However, the Titans should not worry too much about the rest of the regular season, if for no other reason than they reside in the AFC South. They currently have a three-game lead in the division and own the tie-breaker against the sole legitimate threat to them, the Colts. While a fantastic derp of epic proportions is never out of the question, the Titans can all but start planning designs for their AFC South Championship T-Shirts and thinking about likely playoff matchups. Getting the 2021 NFL equivalent of a “gimmie putt” in hosting the Texans this week should do little to dispel that notion.
Maybe Tyrod Taylor can shake off the suckitude from the previous game against Miami, chalking that up to “the first game back after a long layoff” thing and recapture some of the performance of the season’s first six quarters. At least the Texans aren’t facing Derrick Henry on Sunday, so the odds are good that the Texans won’t be giving up over 230+ yards rushing this game...maybe.
But the average Texans’ road game final score is 31-7 for the other guys. Until otherwise proven, and if the Titans don’t suffer a massive letdown, I have zero faith that the Texans pull off the upset here. It will be a pleasant surprise if the team can put up more than single digits on the scoreboard, but until then, the 2021 Texans’ (extremely well-below) average road performance holds.
Mike: Texans 25, Titans 24.
If Houston is going to screw the proverbial draft pick pooch by winning another game or two, it would make total sense for them to do it to the Not-The-Oilers, who are trying to show everyone they’re the class of the AFC right now.
Sure, Tennessee will run all over Houston. Sure, the Texans will look like the Three Stooges were reincarnated as a pro football team. Sure, Houston’s coaching staff will say they have to do a better job.
But in classic Adrian Peterson fashion, he’ll run for 150+ yards and fumble in the most inopportune moments. Tyrod Taylor will go down early with yet another injury and Davis Mills will come in and golden rabbit’s foot his way to some of the luckiest scoring plays in franchise history.
In the end, Houston will get their second victory of the year after the Titans march down the field only to miss the game-winning field goal as time expires. The 106 remaining Texans fans will roar with approval.
Matt Robinson: Titans 28, Texans 13.
Welp, the rapture has surely started. We are currently stranded in a rift in between reality and some bizarro world where Mike Vrabel’s defense is his team’s identity. Weston was right. Somewhere in the middle of David Johnson forcing a missed Brennan Scarlett tackle and Duane Brown getting beat by Whitney Mercilus for a sack, a tear in the fabric of this dimension has occurred. No Derrick Henry, no Julio Jones, no problem. Harold Landry is looking like everything like draftniks wanted him to be when was viewed as a borderline first round prospect back in the 2018 NFL Draft. Kristian Fulton has had an amazing sophomore campaign in tandem with a resurgent year from Kevin Byard to stabilize this Titans’ defensive unit.
Even with a hodgepodge of a roster put together, I expect Tennessee to have little trouble with the matchups Houston will present. Nobody on the Texans’ interior line is ready for what Jeffrey Simmons can provide in the pressure department. There’s a chance Nico Collins or Brandin Cooks can wriggle free for some yards, but I found myself thinking long and hard about how many points this team can put up after how the season has gone.
Ultimately my biggest takeaway from doing this game preview iin conjunction with the embarrassing Miami loss is that there is simply no excuse for this football team to be executing this poorly. Just look at all of these former Houston players scattered across teams who for the most part have become contributors and in cases like the Titans, key cogs, for sustained success. On the Titans alone, they have three former Houston offensive linemen who, while not perfect, are still very much keeping Ryan Tannehill in position to win games.
Unanimously across social networks along with podcasts alike, Texans fans opined how this new fresh coaching staff was what optimistically would make games watchable. Ten weeks in, it seems pretty clear this staff is not oriented on nurturing or developing young talent, with one of the few bright spots being that Geron Christian Sr. hasn’t been the worst choice at tackle we’ve seen in the last five to eight years, before Laremy Tunsil was essentially purchased on markup.
Regardless of the lack of depth for the Titans, I don’t see any Houston defender matching up with A.J. Brown. Houston’s best hope is for the defensive line to treat these Titans’ backup offensive linemen like backups in order to affect plays. Otherwise, Tennessee could find themselves with an early lead and little urgency to score points as Houston flounders on the turf offensively.
Chris: Titans 33, Texans 16.
The Texans head to Nashville with no idea what they’re doing after a week of “evaluation” spouted the same stuff they’ve been saying all year, plus changing positions of two bad players.
Cool, Texans. I get what you’re doing. I don’t care either. Garbage franchise. I love them, and I can’t wait for them to get back to mattering- but that doesn’t change the fact that this may legit be the most poorly-run franchise in big three pro sports.
Tim: Bud Adams’ Army of Darkness 38, Texans 6.
While I am not buying the Titans as the class of the AFC, I’m also not buying the Texans cracking double-digit points. Because, you see, the Texans are ghastly and there is no hope of that changing for at least the rest of the 2021 season.
We are all Giles Corey, and watching this catastrophe week after week is just our way of requesting another stone be stacked upon the pile.
Feel free to use the comments section to predict Sunday’s contest, and if you have any tips on how to enjoy this farce, I’m all ears.