Titans receivers vs. Texans cornerbacks
It’s no mystery that Marcus Mariota, all the wide receivers, and the entire offense as a whole has been terrible. We’re currently the lowest-scoring team in the league, due to plenty of different factors. One of those factors is the fact that the Titans receivers can’t get open. Tajae Sharpe gets open sometimes. Rishard Matthews needs to be schemed open. Andre Johnson is too slow to get open. Harry Douglas is Harry Douglas. Even when there’s a sliver of separation form cornerbacks, these receivers aren’t even coming down with the ball.
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I think Kendall Wright has been more missed than people realize. Wright is dynamic when he’s on the field, able to get open with quickness. He’s also the only downfield threat we have. I’m not going to sit here and act like Mariota has been good at all. He hasn’t. But these receivers have been of no help in getting any kind of rhythm for the offense. Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Johnson have been solid corners for the Texans, so it won’t be easy for the Titans receivers. But they must get open and reel in tough 50-50 balls in order for the Titans to have a chance against the Texans.
Titans offensive line vs. Texans pass rushers
Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin have been very good in pass protection, and they’ve faced some tough defensive fronts. The Vikings and the Raiders both posed tough questions from a pass rushing perspective. The Titans handled it rather well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the Texans pass rushers. J.J. Watt won’t play in this one and might be done for the year. But that doesn’t mean the Texans won’t get any pressure on Mariota.
Jadeveon Clowney has been solidly consistent, albeit not dominant. Whitney Mercilus had two sacks and a forced fumble in the opener. John Simon has been a disruptor, creating two and a half sacks and forcing a fumble. The Texans won’t just be a pushover without Watt. The Titans must neutralize these guys in order to allow Mariota time to throw. As much as we love the running game, we haven’t been able to rely on it for a full game because we fall behind. Passing will be needed in this game, and the offensive line will be key in allowing for passing production.
Titans secondary vs. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller
The run defense has proven to be bankable through three weeks, and I except them to stifle the Texans run game for the most part in this one. The Texans offensive line hasn’t been good and it’s led to Lamar Miller not being able to get going. The pass defense is another story. While they’ve been decent over the first three games, they’ve still been a bit leaky. Stefon Diggs, Marvin Jones and Michael Crabtree have all gone for over 100 yards in each game.
While Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were a stiff test, Hopkins and Fuller is probably the toughest one to date. Hopkins is a route technician who can high-point the ball and reel in nearly everything. Fuller is an absolute burner who can get behind a defense with ease. Jason McCourty has been solid and so has safety Rashad Johnson. Da’Norris Searcy hasn’t been great, while Perrish Cox and Brice McCain have been dreadful. Both Hopkins and Fuller could give the Titans secondary fits in this one, and Cox and McCain will really have to step their game up for the Titans to stay in this one.