Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- This is not a good situation for the Texans run defense.
- The Titans have been stout against the run but beatable through the air, creating a bit of a “pass funnel” situation for opposing offenses.
- The Texans have been surprisingly competitive this season and have shown an ability to keep games close throughout.
- After a slow start to the season, the Titans have rattled off four straight victories to take control of the AFC South.
How tennessee Will Try To Win ::
The Titans rank 30th in the NFL in pass rate over expectation and 29th in the NFL in situation neutral pace of play. This is an “old school” NFL team that is built to win behind their defense and running game. While this approach will likely not allow them to make any deep playoff runs, they have the personnel and scheme to make it extremely viable for controlling their talent deficient division. After a sloppy 0-2 start to the season, the Titans have rallied off four straight victories and stand alone at the top of the division, having also won both matchups with their toughest competition – the Colts. Not coincidentally, this run of success has correlated with a heavy dose of the “Big Dog,” Derrick Henry. Henry has opportunity counts of 33, 30, 27, and 26 in his last four games, an average of 29 chances to touch the ball per game. The Titans have also been trying to get Henry the ball in the passing game more this year due to their lack of playmakers in the receiving corps, as Henry has averaged four targets per game during this recent stretch after only receiving two targets per game over the past three seasons.
The Texans run defense has been laughably bad, ranking bottom-5 in the league in DVOA, yards per carry allowed, PFF run defense grade, and PFF tackling grade. This is not the type of defense that is built to slow down the most physically dominant running back in the game. We know how the Titans want to control the game and nothing about this matchup would sway them from sticking with their approach. Some play-action passes are likely on intermediate throws against a Texans defense that generally keeps things in front of them but will likely bite hard on play-action due to the focus on containing Derrick Henry. Given the Texans struggles against the run and the fact that they know how the Titans will approach this game, it would stand to reason that they will load the box with extra defenders to stop the run. However, the Texans have struggled with tackling this season meaning that all it will take is one or two broken tackles and Henry will be in the open field with no defenders in sight.