It’s week 12 ladies and gentlemen, and this is the most crucial game of the Titans season, to date. The Titans won the first matchup of the season, 20-17. Since then, the Texans have gone 7-1 to take a stranglehold on the division lead. If Tennessee wants to keep their playoff hopes alive, it starts Monday night in Houston, with the ability to sweep the division leader. Houston is the consensus winner to this point, with a revamped defense and an offense that is coming alive. It will not be an easy task for this struggling Tennessee team to achieve.
Keys to Success
If the Titans are going to leave Houston with a win, I think three things need to happen. For starters, our offensive line HAS to play to their abilities. This Texans defense has come alive, and JJ Watt has remembered how dominant of a player he actually is. It absolutely starts with offensive line play, because without time in the pocket, or running lanes, this game is doomed from the beginning.
Now, assuming that the offensive line is doing their part, Derrick Henry needs to wake up. He is a talented back who just hasn’t seemed to be able to get it together so far this season. Henry needs to impose his will when he totes the rock. He needs to do it early and often to keep that tremendous defense honest. Running the ball effectively would completely change the storyline for Tennessee and would further open up the playbook for Matt LaFleur. Without a successful rushing attack, I don’t see this game ending in Tennessee’s favor.
The third and final key to success is Marcus Mariota. Which Mariota are we going to get Monday night? How healthy is he? We need the Mariota that steps up in big-time moments, and we need that Mariota to stick around for the rest of the season as well. Again, it all goes back to the offensive line play. If they can’t get their job done, it makes everyone else’s job that much harder. So again, assuming the offensive line can get their job done, and Mariota is healthy, I think this game is going to go in Tennessee’s favor. As of right now, Houston is a 4 point favorite. That hasn’t stopped Tennessee all season, and don’t expect it to now either.
Tennessee has to bounce back after the Indianapolis blowout. That game does not illustrate by any means what this Tennessee team is made of. Tennessee is going to come out hot like they did against New England, and they will hold the pressure throughout the game. In another close contest, I have the Titans taking this one 23-20 to sweep the Houston Texans. #TitanUp