The Houston Texans face the Tennessee Titans Sunday at 12 CST at Reliant Stadium. The game will be broadcast regionally on CBS. This is the 22nd time the AFC South rivals have met, and the Titans currently lead the overall series 14-8. But the Texans have won six of the last 10, and the rivalry between the current Houston team and the former Houston team has never been fiercer.
The Texans have averaged 34 points the past three victories over the Titans, and have won two games in a row. They’d have won four straight if not for a one-point loss to the Titans on New Year’s Day in 2012.
I don’t think the Texans will come near that scoring margin, as Gregg Williams has returned to Tennessee and is now the senior assistant coach and is now working closely with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. The Titans only allowed 195 total yards and nine points to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who though by no means are offensive savants, they’re certainly still a passable offense. And the Texans did struggle against the San Diego Chargers, who aren’t in the same field defensively as the Titans.
The Titans blitz a lot, so if the Texans offensive line can play as well as they did in the second half of Monday’s game, there could be a lot of big plays through the air. The Titans sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times and hit him a lot more, but Matt Schaub has better receivers, a better running back and a better line.
Arian Foster didn’t play too well against the Chargers, averaging just 3.2 yards per rush and dropping two passes. The Titans’ D is a tough opponent to try to get his mojo back. But if he gets close to 100 yards on Sunday, there’s a good chance that Foster will be back in the 1,000-yard club at the end of this season.
The Texans defense didn’t look very good at all in the first half against the Bolts, but they only allowed seven points in the second half and got some really good stops and allowed just 263 total yards. J.J. Watt got two sacks in both of the Texans games against the Titans last year. With Antonio Smith back from suspension and Brian Cushing healthy, there’s a good chance that the Texans could put on a clinic on that side of the ball. Chris Johnson is still struggling to be worth his ridiculous contract, so the offensive load will rest directly on struggling third-year quarterback Jake Locker‘s shoulders.
Randy Bullock missed his first field goal, but don’t put too much into that as it was over 50 yards away. He connected on the second one, and won the game as time expired. Bullock also had touchbacks on four out of five kickoffs. Shane Lechler was terrific, with all three of his punts landing within the 20-yard line. Shiloh Keo was great on kick and punt return.
The Titans did beat the Steelers last week (which was a surprise to everyone), but I don’t see them having enough to beat the Texans. My prediction for Sunday’s game: Texans 21-Titans 17.
If you’re looking to head over to Reliant Stadium Sunday, PrimeSport has Texans tickets on sale for this week’s game against Tennessee.
Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also listen to his Locker Room podcast on iTunes.