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Houston Texans Forecast: Early Preview Of The Game Against The Tennessee Titans

Is it a potential trap game or are the Texans too good to get snared?

Grant Halverson - Getty Images

The upcoming game on Sunday at Reliant Stadium against the Tennessee Titans has the makings of a potential 'trap game'. The Texans are coming off their biggest win of the season, to face an opponent with a sub .500 record one week before their first prime time game of the season. Previous Texans teams would likely fall prey to the trap, but I believe this years team is different. Not only do they have a huge edge in overall talent compared to Tennessee, but they have the capability to win games by any means necessary. They won easily over the Dolphins in week one despite a slow offensive start thanks to the defense causing four turnovers that led to 20 points. In week two the passing game was held to under 200 yards, but the running game picked up the slack and won the game with 216 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Last Sunday it was the turn of the Texans passing attack to win the game and Matt Schaub put up big numbers with four touchdown passes; two of which were over 50 yards in length.

Texans Defense Vs. Jake Locker

Locker had a great statistical game last week, completing 29-42 passes for 378 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. A great defense like the one the Texans have shouldn't fear any quarterback, but is Jake Locker better than we, or at least I originally thought? His numbers were impressive last week, but remember he faced a Lions defense who has a secondary that most of us could start for. While the Texans have only faced one upper level quarterback so far this season, if you look at the stats from those quarterbacks in other games this season you start to realize it was more the high level of play from the Texans defense, than their lack of skill causing their poor performance. Check out what the quarterbacks who have faced the Texans have done in other games compared to their performance against Houston.

Ryan Tannehill:

Week One Vs. Houston - 219 yards passing, 55.6% completion, 0 touchdowns/3 interceptions, 39 QB rating
Week Two Vs. Oakland - 200 yards passing, 60% completion, 1 touchdown/0 interceptions, 91 QB rating

Blaine Gabbert:

Against Houston - 53 yards passing, 36.8% completion, 2.79 yards per attempt, 62.8 QB rating
Other Teams (Colts & Vikings) - 207.5 yards passing per game, 55% completion, 6.92 yards per attempt, 93.4 QB rating

Jake Locker is a better quarterback than Gabbert and Tannehill in my opinion, but he still has a long way to go in his development; especially with his accuracy. I don't believe he or his offensive line is ready for the type of pressure the Texans bring for an entire game.

Struggling Titans Defense

The almost comical struggles of Titans running back Chris Johnson have grabbed the most headlines and been the subject of many snarky tweets, but the Titans defense has been the biggest reason why they currently have a losing record. The Titans currently rank 29th in rushing yards allowed (150 yards per game), 30th in passing yards allowed (312 yards per game), and are dead last at 32nd in the league in points allowed (37.7 points per game). It's not shocking that they rank so low against the pass considering they've faced Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Matthew Stafford so far this season. However, their rank against the run is not explainable in any other way than just to say they've been awful. They've given up 140+ rushing yards in all three games this season to teams that ranked 16th, 20th, and 29th in rushing yards last season. The Patriots rushed for 162 yards in their week one win over the Titans; they've rushed for 167 yards total over their other two games. Similarly the Chargers rushed for 148 yards against the Titans; equal to their combined rushing yardage total in their other two games. In the two games before rushing for 141 yards against the Titans last week, the Lions were held under 85 yards rushing in each game. Point is, the Titans defense has been awful, especially against the run, and I don't see anyway for them to hold the Texans under 30 points. My guess is that will be enough for the Texans defense to secure the win.

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.