Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Preview
Posted December 9th, 2005
The Titans host the Houston Texans this Sunday in the game of the weak.
Tennessee (3-9) was soundly drubbed by the Colts last week. Houston
(1-11) lost a nail biter to the Ravens. This game is off the leagueís
radar outside of draft position, but it should probably be pretty close.
When the Titans Run
Chris Brown has had a pretty average season this year. He has 181
carries for 724 yards on (4.0 yards per carry) and five TDs. Brown also
comes into this week with an ankle injury that has been nagging him for
a few weeks, so expect him to split carries with Travis Henry if it
continues to bother him. For the season, Henry has 51 carries for 201
yards (4.0 YPC), but has gotten limited time on the field for much of
The Texans are ranked at the bottom of the league against the run.
Former Titan Robaire Smith is Houstonís best lineman. DE Gary Walker
and NT Seth Payne are not nearly what they used to be a few years ago.
Houstonís LBs arenít particularly good either. Kailee Wong, their best
linebacker, is out for the season. Former 1st round pick Jason Babin is
on the bench. Newcomer Morlon Greenwood leads the team in tackles, but
clearly he hasnít been the difference maker they were hoping for when
they signed him. Wongís replacement, DaShon Polk, has probably been
their best run stopper since taking the job. On the outside, starters
Shantee Orr and Antwan Peek are passrushing types and not especially
good against the run.
When the Titans Pass
QB Steve McNairís season has been a disappointment, and itís not likely
to pick up now that two rookie WRs are out for the year. McNair has
thrown for 2609 yards, 14 TDs and nine INTs with a 62.3% completion
rate. WR Drew Bennett leads the team with 551 receiving yards on 43
catches, but has just one TD. Tight end Erron Kinney, the teamís leader
in receptions, is out with a knee injury. Also out are rookie WRs
Brandon Jones and Roydell Williams, easily the second and third most
productive WRs this year. That means WR Tyrone Calico and TE Ben Troupe
need to step up and fulfill some of their potential. Tennessee QBs have
been sacked 25 times this year, which is about average.
Houston has also been one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL this
year, ranking last in QB rating allowed. Second year CB Dunta Robinson
has been good, but the Texans need more. CB Demarcus Faggins gets his
first start in weeks after missing time with a bad hamstring. Safeties
CC Brown and Glenn Earl are not particularly good. Houstonís pass rush
has improved, but just slightly. The leaders are at OLB, as Orr has
five sacks and Peek has four. Polk has picked up 3.5 sacks. Seth Payne,
the only defensive lineman with multiple sacks, has three.
When the Texans Run
Houston has at least been adequate running the ball. RB Domanick Davis
has not had a great season, though he is dangerous. He has 208 carries
for just 837 yards (4.0 YPC) and two scores. Before last weekís 155
rushing yards, Davisí only good game came against the Titans in their
first meeting when he had 130 yards rushing (plus 43 receiving yards).
Starting right guard Victor Riley was released this week, so heíll be
replaced by 4th year player Fred Weary who has started just three times
since his rookie season.
Tennesseeís run defense has been solid as of late after an up-and-down
year. DT Albert Haynesworth has been excellent when he has been
healthy. DT Randy Starks has been solid but hasnít really lived up to
expectations after an impressive rookie season. DE Kyle Vanden Bosch
has done a very good job against the run. OLB Keith Bulluck is a
playmaker and the Titans need his athleticism on defense. Peter Sirmon
has struggled much of the year while Brad Kassell is just an
overachiever in the middle.
When the Texans Pass
Houstonís passing offense is one of the worst the league. QB David Carr
has thrown for 1904 yards, 11 TDs, and nine INTs. He has thrown for
200+ yards in a game just twice this year. Third year WR Andre Johnson
is a great player, but he is having his worst season in the NFL. He has
just 45 catches for 488 yards and one TD this year because teams
constantly double team him to take him out of the game. None of the
Texansí other WRs can compare to Johnson. WR Jabar Gaffney has 48
receptions for 444 yards and two TDs, but isnít considered much of a
threat. Domanick Davis is a good receiver out of the backfield,
totaling 32 catches for 287 yards and three receiving TDs. Carr has
been sacked and NFL worst 55 times this year. Once again, as has been
the case every year, the Texans have a pathetic offensive line and Carr
is getting abused.
The Titansí young secondary continues to improve, but they always find
ways to make costly mistakes. Rookie CB Pacman Jones is definitely
improving, but his technique still needs some work. Reynaldo Hill has
been a big surprise, but after making some big plays he has also given
up some big ones. FS Lamont Thompson has been solid, but SS Tank
Williams is a disappointment. The Titans have 28 sacks this season, yet
the pass rush has been inconsistent. But they did rack up seven sacks
when they last played Houston, so they plan to cause a Carr crash.
Vanden Bosch leads the team with 9.5 sacks. DE Travis LaBoy has 4.5
sacks while backup DT Rien Long has 3.5 sacks.
Titansí punter Craig Hentrich is having a solid season and 1st year
kicker Rob Bironas has been a pleasant surprise. The Texans have a good
punter and kicker tandem in Chad Stanley and Kris Brown, respectively.
Pacman has taken over all of the return work recently, and has been a
big play guy. He has made a few mistakes in fielding balls, but when he
makes the catch he has been a threat to break it. Coverage teams have
been pretty good on kickoffs, but they have been great on punts.
Houstonís kickoff returner, rookie speedster Jerome Mathis, is ranked
2nd in the league. Mathis and Davis have been splitting the punt return
duties with solid results. Houstonís coverage teams have been excellent
on punts but struggle on kickoffs.
Tennessee has struggled all year long, but the Texans have been much
worse. Houston has played it close in their last two games, but still
canít get over the hump. These two teams always seem to play close
games, even when the Titans were at the top of the division and the
Texans were at the bottom. All it takes is a few big plays by Andre
Johnson or Domanick Davis and the Texans can steal a win, but Tennessee
has the clear advantage going into Sunday.
Titans 23, Texans 17
17/28, 171 yards,
1 INT, LG 29,
36/134, 3.7 AVG, 2 TDs, LG 12
6/83, 13.8 AVG,
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|Scoring Avg.: 22.1
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|Passer Rating: 82.8
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