Titans at Texans preview

The news this week is more about people who may not be playing, rather than who will be when the Houston Texans host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Titans quarterback Vince Young is questionable with a quadriceps injury while stars Andre Johnson and DeMeco Ryans are questionable for Houston.
Tennessee (3-2) suffered a tough 13-10 loss to Tampa Bay last week while the 3-3 Texans were run over by the Jaguars in a 37-17 mauling.
Field: Grass. Conditions: Game will be played in a stadium with a retractable roof.
Houston scouting report:
Overview — Coach Gary Kubiak’s squad is an enigma. It seems at times to be an improvement over previous Texan teams but has a tendency at other times to look like the same old Texans.
Offense — Despite the transition of breaking in a new quarterback (Matt Schaub), their continued experimentation at running back and the absence of Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson for most of this year, the Texans have been able to put some points on the board, ranking eighth in the league in that category,
TE Owen Daniels has been productive against the Titans in the past and has been their leading receiver in Johnson’s absence. Houston has scored only three receiving TDs this season by receivers not named Johnson.
The Texans’ revolving door of running backs now features Ron Dayne as the leading rusher, who is racking up yardage at a pedestrian 2.9 yards per attempt.
Defense — Despite a year of experience since the change to a 4-3 defense, Jacksonville exposed Houston’s vulnerability to the run by gashing them for 244 rushing yards last week. Mario Williams, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, wasn’t even the Texans’ best rookie on defense last year. MLB DeMeco Ryans earned that honor but is listed as questionable on this week’s injury report. CB Dunta Robinson is the best player in the secondary.
Keys for the Titans:
1) Whether a slowed Vince Young or a healthy Kerry Collins is the quarterback, the Titans need to run the ball over half the time and need to be effective doing it. The running game has regressed in the last two weeks and if that trend continues it could be bad news.
2) Pressure Matt Schaub. The Titans have historically had very good success rushing the passer against the Texans, whose o-line remains virtually the same as last year. Only some of the matchups will differ this time around.
3) The Titans must also reverse the regression on special teams and prevent any more big plays.
Matchups to watch: The Titans o-line vs the Texans front seven. I’m going to try to keep an eye on two individual matchups in particular, Michael Roos vs Williams and Kevin Mawae vs Ryans.
Prediction: With injuries to key players on both teams and the Titans’ uncertain quarterback situation, this is a tough one to call. One thing looks certain — there shouldn’t be a lot of points on the scoreboard.
Titans 17
Texans 14
For a look at the Houston Texans from their perspective, please check out Texas-Sized Football here on MVN.

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