South Showdown

Okay everyone stay calm.  Week one is almost always crazy, try not to read too much into the absolute stinker the Titans showed.  It’s week two and the Titans have had time to watch film, practice, and put on a better show.  The high octane Houston Texans are rolling into the Music City looking for their first win too.  This AFC south showdown is particularly intriguing for both teams as both struggled mightily.  Below are a few key matchups and headlines to keep an eye on as the showdown approaches at high noon (CST).

The Front Seven vs. The Texans O-Line

Last Sunday against the Patriots, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson looked like he was running for his life before ever breaking the huddle.  Watson was never given adequate time to get anything going and the Texans offense suffered as a result.  Last week, the Titans did manage to get pressure on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  The Titans defense did manage to get one sack.  Look for new defensive coordinator Dean Pees to dial up the pressure and make Watson uncomfortable again on Sunday.

 

The Titans Running Game

Last week running back Derrick Henry was given every opportunity to take control of the backfield.  Naturally, Henry plodded and rumbled with minimal effectiveness, save a 66 yard touchdown run negated by blind officiating.  Fellow running back Dion Lewis was shimmying and boogying his way through the defensive lines.  Lewis clearly had a better grasp of the offense than Henry and it showed.  Look for the Titans to try to get both going early and seeing what the offense truly has in its ground game.

 

Resurgence of the Aerial Attack

Quarterback Marcus Mariota was nothing short of spectacular his first two years in the league.  He dazzled with his arm talent and torched defense with his legs.  Last season, while recovering from a myriad of injuries including a broken fibula, Mariota was clearly not himself.  The trend appeared to continue into this season as Mariota struggled before injuring his elbow.  Mariota’s struggles are likely due to a completely new offensive scheme from what he was used to the last two years.  Expect Mariota to look more comfortable in the system as long as the offensive line can keep him safe.

 

Injuries To Watch

Offensive linemen Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin are still nursing their injuries and their statuses are currently unknown.  Mariota, however, was a full participant in practice, which is a good indicator of his availability Sunday.  Wide receiver Corey Davis was limited with a hamstring injury, although there is nothing to suggest it’s a threat to his availability.  Rookie linebacker Rashaan Evans practiced in full and could make his NFL debut this Sunday.

 

Prediction:

The Titans flash a lot of improvement across the board and make the Texans fight for it.  But the Texans ultimately have too much firepower and wear the Titans out.

Texans 28 Titans 24

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