March 22, 2018

Preview Of The Enemy: Tennessee Titans Game Two

September 15th, 2013. The day I turned 30 (damn) and the last time the Houston Texans won a football game. The Texans beat Tennessee that day when they pulled off a second consecutive miracle win to open the season. It was hard to be disappointed with a 2-0 record, but the way in which they won those two games should have been a sign of things to come.

With the Texans trailing by 1 point in the 4th quarter, Matt Schaub threw a pick-six to Alterraun Verner; the first of four games in a row in which Schaub threw a touchdown pass to an opposing defender. The hero of the comeback win, DeAndre Hopkins, finished the game with 7 receptions for 117 yards along with his game winning touchdown catch. I wouldn’t call his rookie season disappointing, but Hopkins had just 110 yards over his next three games and his week two numbers for catches, yards, and touchdowns are all season highs.

The Texans needed a safety, a 4th quarter comeback, a two-point conversion, and an overtime touchdown to beat the Titans on September 15th. All of that came one week after they overcame a 21 point deficit at San Diego; the Texans are lucky to not be staring down a possible 0-16 season.


Pass Defense – The Titans pass defense hasn’t been dominate, but it’s been better than their run defense. I know I’m stretching, but the Titans are 6-9, so there isn’t a lot to choose from. Currently the Titans rank 1st in passing touchdowns allowed, tied for 8th in passing yards per completion allowed, and 10th in passing yards per game allowed. The Titans defense features two Pro-Bowl caliber corners with Verner and Jason McCourty which can cause issues for most opponents. That doesn’t mean they’re shutdown corners though, in their week two game, Hopkins and Andre Johnson combined for 15 catches and 193 receiving yards against the Titans duo.

Jurrell Casey – A major reason for the Titans solid pass defense has been the transformation of defensive tackle Casey from a run stuffer to a pass rusher. According to Pro Football Focus, Casey had just 25 career QB pressures over his first two seasons in the NFL, but has 54 QB pressures this season which ranks 3rd for defensive tackles. His matchup against Brandon Brooks (assuming Casey plays, he’s listed as questionable at the time this article was written) who has struggled in pass protection, will be a huge factor in the outcome of the game.


Chris Johnson – What happened to CJ2K? Johnson started off his career with one amazing season and two really good seasons, but has struggled to even reach a mediocre level of performance since 2011. Over his first three years (2008-2010), Johnson averaged 97.8 rushing yards per game on 5.0 yards per carry with 38 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns. In the three seasons since (2011-2013), Johnson has averaged 68.9 rushing yards per game on 4.1 yards per carry with 19 total touchdowns.

Some blame was placed on poor offensive line play by the media and Johnson himself, but the Titans added two new guards in the off-season with a high-priced free-agent and their first round draft pick, yet Johnson is averaging a career worst 3.8 yards per carry this year. I think the reality at this point is that Johnson at age 28, is past his prime and will never regain his 2,000 yard form.

Run Defense – Currently the Titans rank 20th in rushing yards allowed, 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed, 26th in rushing first down percentage (% of first downs gained by a rush), and last in rushing touchdown percentage. The Titans have also faced the 10th most rushing attempts this season, perhaps more due to their solid pass defense than being awful against the run, but either way, there are yards to be had on the ground each week for their opponent. When they were both still healthy in week two, Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined for 172 rushing yards in the Texans win over Tennessee.


Titans 23
Texans 20

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