Titans vs Texans: Gameday
By Les Bailey
The 1-5 Tennessee Titans travel to Houston today for an AFC South matchup with the 2-5 Houston Texans. The Titans were winless in a four-game homestand where they were in every game except the week six matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
More at Titan Sized: Titans vs Texans: Marcus Mariota out!
Even with the four-game losing streak, the Titans are still in the playoff picture by being in the worse division in the NFL. If they can manage a win at NRG Stadium today, and the Indianapolis Colts lose against the 6-0 Carolina Panthers on Monday night, they would only be one game behind.
If they are to get a win today, it will be without the services of rookie quarterback, Marcus Mariota. Mariota was injured in the Miami Dolphins loss, and although he looked better this week, he was unable to take enough reps in practice to earn a start today.
Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt will keep the youngster out another week and give a second start to second-year quarterback, Zach Mettenberger. The 2014 sixth round draft pick out of LSU is winless in seven NFL starts leading back to last season and will be looking for his first NFL win.
Mettenberger will face a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt and last year’s number one draft pick Jadeveon Clowney in today’s contest and be looking to improve on a mediocre performance last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
He was 22 of 35 for 179 yards last week in the 14-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, was sacked only once and gave up two interceptions with the last being a killer as the Titans were moving in for a game-winning score.
The 2-5 Texans are not without their problems this week. After missing the team to flight to Miami last week, the quarterback controversy is over in Houston was ended when Ryan Mallett was released on Tuesday. They also lost their number one running back when Arian Foster suffered a season-ending knee injury in the game against the Dolphins.
The leagues leading receiver, DeAndre Hopkins and former Titan Nate Washington will provide a stern test in the secondary that will be missing Perrish Cox for a second week.
Jason McCourty is banged up but will be in the lineup along side Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Coty Sensabaugh. This unit did a good job last week in shutting down Julio Jones, and will need a good performance today.
The big key for a Titans win today is the running game. Antonio Andrews showed everyone last week that he could be the big power back this team needs. He was able to pound the ball and punish linebackers at the end of runs.
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Andrews carried the rock 10 times for 57 yards against the Falcons, and could be the catalyst against a team that has given up 16 rushing touchdowns on the year if coach Whisenhunt will stick with the running game.
Running the ball successfully will also serve to slow down a pass rush that is sure to come.
Next: Titans vs Texans: Q&A With Toro Times
Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt has gotten a lot of criticism this week for trying to throw the ball too much when the running game is moving the chains. We’ll see today if he sticks with his philosophy, or makes enough changes that will for sure, win some football games.