By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer
The Tennessee Titans are coming off a solid win against the Seattle Seahawks, where they rallied for 21 straight points in the third quarter to secure the win. The Houston Texans, on the other hand, were leading the New England Patriots and dropped the game in the closing minutes due to Tom Brady‘s comeback magic.
The Titans have a vicious running attack this season spearheaded by DeMarco Murray who has accumulated 184 yards on 35 carries and a touchdown. Derrick Henry, the second-year man out of Alabama, has also shown some spurts of toughness and being the future feature back for the Titans, fighting for 171 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has also joined in on the rushing attack with 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground of his own.
The Titans have racked up 469 yards on the ground in the first three games of the season, giving the second best rushing offense in the NFL after week three.
Mariota has been solid to start the season in the passing game. He has passed for a total of 696 yards and three touchdowns. He has thrown a pick, but for the most part, he has been efficient with the ball earning him an 86.9 passer rating.
Titans receiver Rishard Matthews has also had a mixed bag of success. On 24 targets, he has made 14 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. His catching percentage could use some help, but the season is still young. Tight end Delanie Walker also continues to defy father time collecting 15 catches on 19 targets for 168 yards. Eric Decker in the first three games has not been much of a factor, but he will be down the stretch. So far, he has only gotten 10 catches on 18 targets for 91 yards.
The Titans offensive line has also done a really good job protecting Mariota. They so far this season have only two sacks and have blown holes up to get running backs to the second and third level.
The Texans only win came in a rough game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals did not score a touchdown in the game and rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson got his first official start, adding a much-needed dual-threat dynamic to the Texans offense.
In week three action, Watson caught fire in the passing game but made rookie mistakes, as the Patriots capitalized on to come back for a win. Watson threw for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also ran 41 yards on 8 carries. His interceptions were painfully costly for the Texans, allowing the Patriots to come back.
The unlikely star of the Texans team was their second-year kicker, Ka’imi Fairbairn, who kicked four field goals and three extra points in the game for a total of 15 points. Fairbairn had a perfect game and it almost pushed the Texans over the hill for the win.
The Texans defense was solid even though they allowed 36 points. The defense punished Brady in the backfield with 5 sacks for a total loss of 41 yards. The defense even scored a touchdown of their own when Jadeveon Clowney scooped up a fumble and ran for a touchdown.
Clowney finished the day with six total tackles, two of which were sacks and three of which were tackles for losses. J.J Watt had two tackles for losses with six total tackles, but Watt still has not gotten a sack on the season. He looks good after his injury, but offenses have game planned well for Watt. Despite this, he is still the fourth leading tackler on the team.
The Texans will have to stop the running game of the Titans if they hope to win the game. Mariota is a good quarterback, but the rushing attack helps open up passing lanes for him. If the Texans take that away, Mariota may have a really rough day in the pocket.
Also, despite the fact, the Watt does not have a sack yet this season does not mean he should be slept on. He is still a force to be reckoned with and will punish teams if they get lazy with him.
The Titans will have the opportunity to stop the Texans offense if they get into the backfield. Texans quarterback has already been sacked 15 times this year with even more pressures and knockdowns. If the Texans continue to struggle with quarterback protection, it will be a long day for them.
The experts and public polls for this game on covers.com are split. The experts are split on who will win 50-50 and the public polls give a two percent advantage to the Texans. At the end of the day, it will be a good divisional game, where both teams will fight hard to improve their records.
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