The Titans enter their Week Four matchup against the Houston Texans coming off a 17-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders in which the offense didn’t look all that great, the defense did hold Oakland’s offense under 400 total yards and contained Derek Carr to 249 passing yards and one touchdown. How can the Titans build on this game and get the much needed victory in Houston? Let’s discuss with our Four Keys!
First, Marcus Mariota has to take care of the ball. Last week the second year signal caller threw two untimely interceptions and a fumble recovered by the Raiders. If the Titans want to have a shot at beating the Raiders, they must protect the ball and it begins with the quarterback.
Secondly, running back DeMarco Murray ranks fourth in the NFL with 377 yards from scrimmage through three games. He currently averages 125.7 yards from scrimmage per game and has really taken to Head Coach Mike Mularkey’s scheme. Physical offensive line play and disciplined route running has made Murray the focal point in the Titans offense. He must have another great game in order for the Titans to secure victory.
Thirdly, the Titans defense has to frustrate the Texans offense. Through three games, the Houston Texans have scored THREE offensive touchdowns, two of them coming from their first game at home against the Chicago Bears. Texans starting quarterback Brock Osweiler has struggled, throwing three touchdowns and four interceptions. After the humiliating 27-0 loss in New England last Thursday, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach George Godsey was stripped of play-calling duties earlier in the week by head coach Bill O’Brien. Meanwhile, receivers DeAndre Hopkins and rookie Will Fuller look great. Through three games, each have more than 250 receiving yards and between them have caught Osweiler’s three touchdown passes. If the Titans will win Sunday, they have to make Brock uncomfortable, get him off his spot and turn the Texans over.
During the Patriots game, the Texans committed turnovers on special teams and gave third-string rookie QB Jacoby Brissett a short field to work with coupled with the purposeful and powerful running of LeGarrette Blount. The Titans have the ability to exact the same dominance in the running game with Murray and Derrick Henry.
Lastly, I would love to see the Titans stretch the field. In the first three games [and the preseason] Marcus Mariota hasn’t thrown many deep passes. The Texans secondary is average at best and with their running game and powerful offensive line, the Titans can take shots downfield! Although, Andre Johnson and Harry Douglas are veteran receivers, I would like to see Kendall Wright get in on a few plays and take the top off the Texans defense so that they can’t load 8 in the box to stop Henry and Murray.
Injuries: Linebacker Nate Palmer (knee) and tight end Delanie Walker (hamstring) are questionable to play Sunday against the Texans. Cornerback Cody Riggs (hamstring) and safety Da’Norris Searcy (ankle) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game.
The Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans will face off at NRG Stadium in Houston and kickoff is shortly after Noon CDT (1:00PM EDT). Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta will provide play-by-play and commentary for CBS. Referee Clete Blakeman and his crew will officiate the game.