The Guest Spot: Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans Preview



This edition of The Guest Spot comes to you courtesy of Marcus Stephen. You can view his site at

The Tennessee Titans will take their act on the road as they travel to Houston to play the Texans at Reliant Stadium on Sunday. In their most recent action, the Titans were winners in an overtime battle in Detroit. They won 44 – 41.

The Titans Special teams would be the receiver of my game ball as they sparked this team with a 62 yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter (a play Titan fans are oh so familiar with). This was followed up with a 105 yard kickoff return by Darius Reynaud in the 4th quarter. The defense tacked on another 7 with an Alterraun Verner touchdown off a “purse snatching” from Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew. Credit is also due to Jake Locker, with 387 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.  In this just his second season out of Washington, he has developed into a QB who can control the game and lead his team. But we need a RUNNING GAME!!

If Locker has any hope of developing, he needs help. With no running game to speak of, the young QB will have a big bulls-eye on his back. After a poor season last year by Chris Johnson, we had hope that he could turn it around starting fresh in 2012. On 14 rushes Johnson finished with just 24 yards, with one of those rushes totaling half of his total yardage. #28 has a season average of 1.4 yards per carry, 33 carries to 45 yards. Don’t hold your breath for these totals to increases in week 4 as the Titans will play one of NFL’s best defenses.

Vegas does not have much faith on the Titans winning this week. The point spread has been set at 12 points in favor of the Texans. Check out my TitansTexansPick on my weekly blog. But it is tough to argue Vegas with this prediction, as the Texans are undefeated on the season and on paper they win the stats sheet in almost every category. A few stats that jump off the page are in the points allowed category and rushing yards. In their opening 3 weeks, the Texans have only allowed an average of 14 points per game, compared to the Titans total of 37.7. We all know how well the Texans can run, so this statistic should come to no surprise. The comparison is saddening: the Texans average 150.3 on the ground per game to the Titans 39.

The Titans will need to pull a few more tricks out of their bag to have a chance of winning this week. The game plan will be to stop the run, as their passing game develops from their run game. It is a difficult task with the tandem of Foster and Tate, but statistically, when the Texans are held to under 100 total rushing yards, their winning percentage severely drops. On offense the Titans will have to replicate their effort from last week on pass protection, when given time, Locker had the vision to look at his second and third options to find an open target. Fingers crossed the offense can repay the effort by securing the ball and reducing the number of dropped balls.

Marcus Stephen