Week 13 Preview: Houston at Tennessee

Kubiak rallies his players

Two AFC South teams that sorely need a win will do battle at LP Field Sunday when the Houston Texans take on the Tennessee Titans. Playoff hopes for both teams are fading fast, as the Texans dropped a game in Cleveland last Sunday to again fall under .500 at 5-6. They were unable to take advantage of a bad Browns defense, and had leads of 7-0 and 10-7 but wore down on both sides of the ball and in the second half were beaten by the Browns on both lines of scrimmage. This week they will once again rely on Matt Schaub to make some big plays on offense, getting the ball to wide outs Andre Johnson, Andre Davis and Kevin Walter. Running the ball will be on the shoulders of Ron Dayne, as Ahman Green, who has been a major bust, will miss the game again with a knee injury.

The Titans seem ripe for the pickins right now. Last week both sides of the ball broke down as they were beaten badly by the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium 35-6. It was by far the worst game the team has played in 2007, and it was their third loss in a row, dropping them to 6-5 and now putting them on the outside looking in as far as the AFC Playoff picture is concerned. The team seemed to be shell shocked by the Bengals and the fact they were able to both run and pass against them.

The team is very anxious to get Albert Haynesworth back this week, as they are missing the star defensive tackle big time. Teams have been able to have their way for the most part with the Titans D-line since Haynesworth suffered a right hamstring injury in Week 9. In games with Haynesworth, the Titans allowed just 66.0 rushing yards per game and held each of their opponents to less than 100 yards on the ground. Without him, they simply are not the same, and it also has allowed opposing QB’s time to throw and have given up 160.0 rushing yards during their three-game losing streak.

On offense, the Titans need better production from QB Vince Young, who has had a very up and down sophomore season. They also need LenDale White to catch his second wind, as the past few weeks he has been showing signs of wearing down. Bottom line, the Titans offense needs to step it up in order to give the defense some relief, no matter if Haynesworth is in there or not. The defense cannot give up yards if they are not on the field, and it seems like the Titans have lost something when it comes to attitude in running the football.

I would bet that Houston tries to jump on the Texans early with some shots down the field to Johnson and Walter. They didn’t really try last week to go deep vs Cleveland, and by the time they needed to throw late, Schaub was getting harassed by the Browns D-line and linebackers. Against the Titans, he needs some time to throw. Last time the two teams played, it was a wild 38-36 shootout, and while I don’t think we’ll see anything like that again, the Texans have a great shot to win if they can win the line of scrimmage.

This game should be another close AFC South battle, both teams need a win in the worst of ways, and even if Haynesworth is in there, he will not be 100 percent. The Texans fell to a good Cleveland team last week, but in Tennessee they should be able to get the job done.

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