|GAME TIME||12:00 PM CT|
TITANS KEY PLAYER
The Titans key player in this Sunday’s game in Nashville is without a doubt Marcus Mariota. With eight interceptions in the past four games, Mariota must remain poised if the team wants to stay atop the AFC South. Mariota was injured in the first half in the Titans loss to the Texans early in the season, and it proved detrimental as the Texans dominated every facet of the game from that point. Mariota has to play turnover-free football against a solid Texans defense.
TEXANS KEY PLAYER
Since the Texans lost rookie sensation Deshaun Watson to season ending injury, the offense lost its catalyst. To help make the job easier on quarterback Tom Savage, look for running back Lamar Miller to have a heavy workload in Nashville. The Titans have a solid run defense, so this should be a fun battle to watch all day. Miller can keep this team in the game with solid play on the ground, so it should be interesting to see what looks the defense give him.
GAME PREVIEW AND ANALYSIS
Back in October, the Titans traveled to Houston to take on the Texans feeling confident after they just beat a really good Seahawks the previous week. Well, they left with an injured quarterback and an embarrassing 57-14 loss to the Texans.
Nine weeks later, the Titans are in Nashville to host the Texans in a rematch of their lopsided week four matchup. A lot has changed since then.
The teams have gone different directions. The Texans lost star rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson for the season with an ACL tear, and have gone 1-3 since his injury. The Titans have managed to stay competitive, getting wins in five of their last six games. The Titans are tied with the Jaguars for first place in the AFC South at 7-4. The Texans sit right behind at 4-7.
Injuries have plagued a very talented Texans team this season. In addition to losing Watson, they have also lost several key members of the defense, including 3-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. The Titans must take advantage of these injuries. The offense can’t stall out for large chunks of the game. The Texans will look to exploit Marcus Mariota, who has thrown eight interceptions in the last four games.
The Titans will hope the return of Rishard Matthews will provide a boost to the passing game. He missed last week’s game against Indianapolis with a hamstring injury.
The Texans will look to establish the running game with Lamar Miller. With Tom Savage and the passing offense struggling, Miller will look to ball out on the ground. The Titans fifth-ranked run defense must continue to play strong, or Miller could be a problem.
The biggest key for the Titans in this game is staying consistent on offense. Take care of business to a team that is not better than you. It’s simple. See what’s working early, and work to establish the run while letting the passing game mature throughout the game. If the Titans can avoid beating themselves, I expect them to pull out the win on Sunday.
PREDICTION: Titans 27 Texans 23