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Favored Texans Offer Rough Test for Titans’ Defense

September 13, 2013

The Houston Texans could be brimming with confidence right now after a huge comeback to beat San Diego on the first Monday night of the NFL season. But the Tennessee Titans are feeling good about themselves too, and that sets the stage for what could be an interesting encounter between these two AFC South squads that will meet up at 1 PM ET at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

In the pro football odds that have been posted at Bookmaker.eu, the Texans are laying some points, as could be expected:

Houston Texans -9.5
Tennessee Titans +9.5

Over 42.5 Points -110
Under 42.5 Points -110

Some people left Houston for dead after they went down 28-7 to the San Diego Chargers in the second half of ESPN’s initial Monday night doubleheader. But they came roaring back to overcome that deficit and win 31-28 in what had to, at the same time, be a very inspiring victory for them and a devastating debut for the Chargers’ new head coach, Mike McCoy.

As expected, Houston got balance out of its running attack, as Arian Foster is still dealing with the effects of a calf injury. Foster had 57 yards and backup Ben Tate had 55. But the night, for all intents and purposes, belonged to Andre Johnson. The great, Hall of Fame-bound wide receiver, who caught over 100 passes last season, had 13 receptions for 146 yards. But there were indications that the threat of DeAndre Hopkins, the rookie out of Clemson, may have had a major effect. Hopkins caught six passes for 66 yards from quarterback Matt Schaub, and Texans fans are looking forward to all the possibilities.

As far as what Titans fans have to look forward to, well, let’s just say that they had to be shocked, along with everyone else, at what they saw from the defensive unit last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. You have to understand threat the Tennessee defense gave up the most points in the history of its franchise last year. So it was entirely unexpected that they would be able to hold the Steelers to no touchdowns until the very end of the game, just 14 first downs, 32 rushing yards and 26 minutes of possession time, while picking up five sacks of Ben Roethlisberger.

Yes, that is probably a partial reflection of the sad state of affairs Pittsburgh is experiencing on offense right now, but you can’t take all the credit away. So what have they done? Well, one of the things was that they went out and got Bernard Pollard to play safety, plucking him off the roster of the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. He helped limit Big Ben to just 5.9 yards per attempt. He also made five solo tackles. The defensive front was magnificent, controlling the line of scrimmage all the way.

However, Bookmaker customers can’t be fair about an evaluation of the Titans without taking a very objective look at their offense. Tennessee gained just 237 yards from scrimmage against Pittsburgh, which converts to only 3.6 yards per play. There have been a lot of questions about Jake Locker ever since he came into the league, and those questions are going to continue, because he did not do much to help the Tennessee cause, aside from avoiding turnovers. He completed only eleven of his 20 passes, for 125 yards. Of course, the “no turnover” part of that is a decent sign, since Houston forced nine Tennessee turnovers in the two games these clubs played against each other last season, but there is going to have to be much more production if the Titans get into a situation where they have to trade points.

About the author

Alan Penny
Alan Penny


Alan hails from Northern Ireland and is an avid fan of all sports. He has been with us since 2017 and serves as SBO’s Editor-in-Chief. Alan passionately covers everything from the latest regulatory developments across the globe to tips on the latest football matches.