The Titans have lost five of six games and will send rookie Zach Mettenberger to the field for his first NFL start. That will make three different starting quarterbacks in eight weeks. Ironically, this is the smart move, since it might indicate the Tennessee finally realizes that former first round pick, Jake Locker, is not going to lead this team anywhere but the top ten in the draft yearly.
A loss for the Texans would leave them at 3-5 and on a four-game losing streak. A quarterback chance for Houston would then possibly come after next week’s game against Philadelphia and before their bye week and essentially that would begin their preparations for the future.
Now 5 things:
1. Help for Watt: Jadeveon Clowney is active for the first time since week one. He will be limited, probably seeing maybe 15-25 snaps, but that might be enough to make a few impact plays, which very few others have been making. Whitney Mercilus needs to continue to the only real positive surge of his career. Also, these two better be positives, because the rest of the linebacking core is decimated with injuries.
2. The middle men: Brian Cushing is out with a sore knee and might take next week against Philadelphia off also since the Texans bye week follows. Mike Mohammed and Justin Tuggle are going to be leaned on heavily in this game. Tennessee is not a good offense at all, ranking 27th and 28th in yards and points per game respectively. This duo, along with Akeem Dent, who has seen little playing time this year, but will see plenty against the Titans, does not need to be spectacular, but they must hold their own.
3. Numbers do lie: The Titans are ranked ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per play at 4.52 yards per rush. But consider this, Jake Locker has 18 carries for 107 yards (5.9 yds/rush) and Kendall Wright has 43 yards on a pair of carries. Even Leon Washington has 32 yards on four totes. The Titans run the ball so infrequently, (26th in the NFL in attempts per game), their team’s overall numbers are easily inflated. Bishop Sankey will get the lions share of the work and he’s averaging a paltry 3.4 yards per carry in his last three games. Oh, and Mettenberger is Matt Schaub-like in his ability to make plays with his feet.
4. The Texans defense has given up a ton of big plays and they are not fast, especially in the secondary without Darryl Morris. They must not allow speedy Titans receivers Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright to get behind them. If the Titans are going to win, they almost assuredly will need a couple of big pass plays.
5. Only two teams have more interceptions that the Titans defense (8). Only two quarterbacks have more interceptions than Ryan Fitzpatrick (7). The Texans will need to halt that trend if they hope to even their record at 4-4 and grab their first win in the AFC south.