Friday, September 18, 2009

Tennessee Titans should beat Houston this weekend to earn first win

After the NFL's first week we know one thing about the Tennessee Titans: the team will not equal last year's start. Last year, the Titans began 10-0 but their 13-10 loss to Pittsburgh guaranteed that will not happen. Actually, the Titans played better than the Steelers, but let the defending Super Bowl champs off the hook.

The defense was fantastic except when it counted. Late in regulation and in overtime, the Titans insisted on sticking with a four-man pass rush, and they repeatedly failed to get pressure on the quarterback. If a pass rush cannot threaten a quarterback, then it does not matter how good the secondary is. Sooner or later, the quarterback will pick them apart.

This week, the Houston Texans visit Nashville, and they were likely the biggest disappointment in week one. The Texans had received a lot of pre-season hype, and Sports Illustrated picked them to win the AFC South. Against the New York Jets, their offense laid an egg as they lost 24-7. Their only touchdown was by their defense. Quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Steve Slaton, and wide receiver Andre Johnson did absolutely nothing. Slaton rushed for only 17 yards, while Johnson caught four passes for 35 yards.

However, the Titans must also increase their offensive production. Though they played a stout Pittsburgh defense, the Titans got nothing done on the ground last week. The Titans simply won't win consistently if they do that. Running back Chris Johnson could not break a big play, and LenDale White still looks like he is running in quicksand.

Playing at home, the Titans should beat the Texans. However, don't be deceived. Both teams have a lot to prove. This will be a close match up that goes to the final minutes.

The pick: Tennessee 20 Houston 17

Other picks: Atlanta over Carolina, New England over N.Y. Jets, Chicago over Pittsburgh, Dallas over N.Y. Giants, Indianapolis over Miami, San Diego over Baltimore, Green Bay over Cincinnati, Buffalo over Tampa Bay

Last week: 9-0 (1.000)

1 comment:

Chris said...

Houston 34 Tennessee 31. A team's success throughout a season can often be measured by how it did in close games. Playoff teams typically win more close games than not. Non-playoff teams come up short in those situations. With Tennessee's loss today, the Titans have opened with two three-point losses and have dug themselves an early hole when it comes to making it back to the playoffs.

The secondary was awful today, giving up 350 yards and blowing coverages in key situations that resulted in big plays.

Yechh.