Texans-Titans: Paging Sage Rosenfels
Hey, the Texans have won three straight games. And they even had to go out in miserable weather and defeat the Packers to win last week -- you know, it's kind of shame that it snowed on Wednesday night and couldn't wait until Sunday so that Texans fans, who have been known to whine when the roof is open and the temp is hot, couldn't have experienced some real football weather.
But can the Texans make it four straight? Well, if you believe some of the writers over at the Chron, the answer is yes. But if you believe me, the answer is no. And not only no, but HELL NO!
The Texans have six wins this season, but only one of those wins has come against a playoff caliber football team (the 29-28 win over the Dolphins). Three of the wins have been against the Lions, Bengals, and Browns, three of the worst teams in the NFL. One win was against the Jaguars, who appeared to quit about halfway through the game, and then there was the win over the Packers who seemed to forget how to tackle.
This week, the Texans and their elite quarterback Matt Schaub (yep, one of the Chron writers thinks that Schaub can be one of the NFL's elite QBs) meet up against the
Houston Oilers Tennessee Titans, the team that used to reside in Houston, and currently, the team with the best record in the NFL. The Titans are 12-1, and they are one win short of tying the franchise record for most wins in a season. If the Titans defeat the Texans, they then clinch home field for the entire playoffs.
The Titans have the third-ranked defense in the NFL, allowing only 273.8 yards per game. Their defense allows only 181.4 yards per game by pass, and 92.4 yards by the run. And they are second-ranked in points allowed per game, surrendering only 14.2.
This matches up against the Texans' so-called elite offensive machine, which is third-ranked, yardage wise, in the NFL at 381.5 yards per game. So something's got to give, right?
Well, I say the Texans' offense gives. Sure, only one running back has eclipsed 100-plus yards rushing on the Titans this year, and that was the Texans' own Steve Slaton way back in week number two. But if you'll think back to week number two, you'll note that the Titans' defense dominated that game anyway, primarily because the Titans seem to have this thing about Matt Schaub. They knocked him out of the game twice last season, and Schaub's career-high for interceptions in a game is three, which happened in that week two matchup.
The Titans like playing against Schaub. Titans defensive end Albert Haynesworth has been quoted, in the past, as essentially calling Schaub a coward when it comes to the Titans, saying "I think he's just scared of us." And with the way Schaub has played against the Titans, I think one can say Haynesworth is correct in that assumption.
Now everybody thinks that the Texans have this great, high-octane offense, while the Titans just have this pedestrian offense that eats up the clock. But do you know what? The Titans have scored more points this season than the Texans.
Sure, the Titans are a run-first offense. But why shouldn't they be? Rookie running back Chris Johnson has already rushed for over a thousand yards this season, and the lumbering LenDale White is a touchdown machine. The Titans are looking for their third consecutive 200-plus yard rushing game, and playing against the Texans defense, which is 24th in the NFL when it comes to defending the run, I'd say the Titans odds are pretty damn good.
Now several teams have tried to stop the Titans by stacking the line and playing the run. But Kerry Collins is a veteran QB who doesn't make mistakes, and he can find his receivers when need be. I'm pretty sure Collins has studied the film and knows that all he has to do is toss the ball in the direction of Jacques Reeves.
The Texans lose this game, folks. They lose this game because they always lose to teams like this. The Steelers, a good running team, beat the Texans. The Vikings, a good running team with an aging, mediocre QB, beat up on the Texans. The Ravens, with a good running game and a rookie QB beat up on the Texans. And we all saw what the Titans did to the Texans last time out.
The Titans have won 11 of 13 games against the Texans, including seven straight. I say that number goes to 12 of 14 and eight straight. And who wants to bet that, at some point during this game, Sage Rosenfels has to play QB? - John Royal
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.