The Titans impressed against the Bills after a long break due to Tennessee’s COVID outbreak with minimal practice. Many, including myself, thought that a lack of practice would hamper the Titans’ ability to beat the Bills. However, they showed zero signs of rust and thoroughly defeated Buffalo, 42-16.
The Titans defense created timely turnovers, and their offense made the Buffalo Bills pay for their mistakes.
The turnover margin has been a constant theme so far for the Titans this year. Although their defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed, their ability to create takeaways masks their liabilities defensively.
The Titans are No. 1 in the NFL in turnover differential (+8). Malcolm Butler intercepted Josh Allen twice, and both interceptions led to Titans touchdowns. The offense was once again efficient in the red zone. They converted for touchdowns on all of their six trips. The return of A.J. Brown boosted the offense as well, finishing the day with 82 yards and a touchdown reception.
The Titans will look to continue their winning formula against the Texans who, although are 1-3, will pose some challenges for the Tennessee Titans.
Deshaun Watson vs. Titans Pass Rush
The Texans are fresh off their first win of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After firing long-time head coach Bill O’Brien, the Texans looked rejuvenated, albeit against a poor team in Jacksonville. Deshaun Watson threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns. However, one of the reasons for their three losses this year is their offensive line. Their inability to protect their quarterback has been a real concern. The Houston Texans have allowed their franchise quarterback to be sacked 17 times this year, which ranks third-worst in the NFL. The Titans have a talented defensive line, especially with the addition of Jadeveon Clowney. Yet, they have not produced many sacks this year. They only average 1.2 sacks per game, which ranks 29th in the NFL. If Watson is able to extend plays, then the Texans have a shot to win.
Titans Pass Catchers vs. Texans Secondary
A.J. Brown had a big impact in his return against the Bills. Brown and the rest of the Titans pass catchers were getting constant separation. They will face a much tougher secondary than they’ve seen so far in the season. Houston is only giving up 227 passing yards per game, which ranks eighth in the NFL. They also defend the red zone particularly well. Houston only allows a touchdown 54% of the time in the red area, which ranks seventh-best in the NFL. The Titans, on the other hand, are one of the best offensive teams in the red zone. Opposing defenses usually have to worry about Derrick Henry, which grants opportunities for big-target pass catchers such as A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith. If the Titans continue their trend of success in the red zone, then they should cruise to victory.
Derrick Henry’s vs Texans Rush Defense
At times, when one watches Derrick Henry run the ball, he appears to be a man among boys. Perhaps one of the most infamous moves in the NFL is Henry’s stiff-arm. Against the Bills, Henry rag-dolled cornerback Josh Norman into oblivion. The former Heisman winner would finish the day with only 57 rushing yards, but two crucial touchdowns. That has been the story with Henry so far this season. He has not racked up the same amount of yards per carry as he has done in the past. Henry is only averaging 3.7 yards per rush this season. However, his physicality in the red zone often results in touchdowns. The Texans have one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL. Only the Detroit Lions allow more rushing yards per game than the Houston Texans. I expect Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to give significant carries to his star running back.
Divisional games are usually closely contested and the Titans are coming off a short week. The Texans will look to continue their momentum under interim head coach Romeo Crennel. I expect the game to come down to the wire; however, the Titans should continue their unbeaten streak and edge out a struggling divisional opponent.
Pick: Titans 27, Texans 23
(Featured Image Credit: TennesseeTitans.com)