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LORK 88
10-20-2007, 12:54 PM
HOUSTON VS TENNESSEE PREVIEW
By Brad Lorkovic (LORK 88)


To say last week was rough would be a vast and overwhelming understatement. It was one of those games in which everything went wrong, and we couldnít seem to catch a break. However, thereís no real point to dwelling on the past, so itís time to focus on this upcoming weekís game where we welcome back the Titans and Vince Young to Houston. Whether he plays has yet to be announced, but regardless this game will be big for both teams. We want to come to play after the last time they came to town last season, and they want to defeat the city that used to have the Oilers. It should be interesting for both sides, but who wants it more?

Houstonís Running Game vs. Tennesseeís Run D: This will be our biggest challenge, but for different reasons than the typical ďRon Dayne sucksĒ. The main reason is that Tennesseeís run defense is ranked first in the NFL, only allowing an average of 63.8 yards per game. It all starts up front for them with Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch. Haynesworth unfortunately gets more press for the incident he was involved in last year, but has been a beast in the middle this season. He has been good at eating up blocks this season. Vanden Bosch isnít as gifted in terms of size, but has an amazing tenacity and a motor that never stops. At the other DT and DE spots are Antwan Odom and Tony Brown. Odom is more known for his strength while Brown is more on the athletic size (he returned a fumble against us for a TD). Behind the D Line sits on of the most underrated LBs in the NFL in Keith Bullock. He is a tackling machine and has been one of the best in the NFL for the past few years. At the other outside spot is David Thornton, whose athletic ability lets him fly all over the field. Inside is Ryan Fowler, a FA pickup from Dallas. Unfortunately, I donít know too much about him because I figured Stephen Tulloch would be the starter after a solid rookie season. For us, we need to be patient and make sure we sustain our blocks. Our running game hasnít been the same since Green went down with an injury, but we need it to set up the pass. Haynesworth can cause havoc, so we need to make sure to double down on him and go off tackle. We can have a decent game running the ball if we want to, but we need to be patient and give it time.

Houstonís Passing Game vs. Tennesseeís Pass D: Tennesseeís passing defense is interesting, and I say that because they donít have any real big names after losing Pac Man, but seem to get the job done well enough. The starting CBs are Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper. Finnegan was a 7th round pick in 2006, and he is one of those players that always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Harper is the former Colt from last year who has held his own this season. Rookie Griffin and Reynaldo Hill will be the backups who will see time in nickel and dime packages. Hill was actually the starter last year, but did a poor job which is why heís on the bench. Also keep an eye on both LBs Thornton and Bullocks. Both use their athletic ability in coverage and they will make it challenging for Daniels this week. As far as the pass rush goes, Vanden Bosch will be the biggest challenge. He never gives up on a play and is tenacious in getting to the QB. Haynesworth and Brown can also get pressure in the middle if we neglect them. This is the part of the game where I think we can be most successful, mostly for the fact that not many teams have stopped our passing game. Davis and Walter will be the starters, and both have proven they deserve to. Jacoby will be back at full strength and will most likely be a key backup along with David Anderson. Daniels will have a challenging time with Bullocks and Thornton, but should be able to get some looks. Overall, if we get the time to throw, I have no doubt in my mind that we can move the ball like we have.

Tennesseeís Rushing Game vs. Houstonís Run D: This will be our biggest challenge for us in the game, especially after our struggles last week. For Tennessee, it all starts up front with the O line, lead by Kevin Mawae. They are a big physical group thatís the exact same from last year, and it shows. The only problem that they have on the O Line is depth. They lead the way for a running game lead by White and Brown. White and Brown are similar in size and style, but both have their differences. Brown is a more north-south runner who loves using his strength to break tackles and run people over. However, itís gotten him in trouble in the past as heís been injured because of it. White is a slower, more patient runner who tends to let holes open up. The only downside is that he doesnít use his size like Brown does. The FB will be Ahmard Hall, who is a former marine who Tennessee picked up during the supplemental draft. Hall has good size, and uses it to be a physical blocker. The key thing for us will be to stay strong up front and not give them running lanes. These two RBs tend to get most of their yardage up the middle and off tackle, so we need to focus on that. Neither are a serious threat to beat us with their speed, but both can wear us down in the middle. I expect Ryans to have a big day trying to contain the big run.

Tennesseeís Passing Game vs. Houstonís Pass D: The big question here will obviously be who is at QB for Tennessee? If itís Vince, we need to keep outside contain and force him to beat us with his arm. He has had trouble passing this season when teams have made him 1 dimensional and we need to do the same. If itís Collins, we need to get pressure on him and force him to make bad decisions. He has a big arm, but his accuracy tends to get iffy the more you force him to make throws. At WR, Brandon Jones is out so it will be up to Moulds, Justin Gage, and Roydell Williams. We all know about Moulds since he was here last year, and he still brings his possession WR skills to Tennessee. Gage and Roydell have stepped up as the backups and both have flashed some potential to be big time WRs. Gage has great size while Williams is a little quicker. At TE is Bo Scaife and Ben Troupe. Scaife worked hard to earn the starting spot and has great hands. He does a great job finding a way to get open. Troupe is a huge mismatch with his size and speed, but canít seem to stay healthy which is his ultimate downfall. As far as how we match up, Dunta shouldnít have a problem going against Moulds, as he saw him in practice every day last year. Faggins might struggle with the size of Gage, which is why I would prefer Bennett to get more time. The key for us will be getting pressure and rattling whoever is the QB. If we can force bad throws and get them to make mistakes, weíll be in good shape.


Position Battle
QB Advantage: HOUSTON
RB Advantage: TENNESSEE
WR Advantage: HOUSTON
TE Advantage: HOUSTON
OL Advantage: TENNESSEE
DL Advantage: HOUSTON
LB Advantage: TENNESSEE
CB Advantage: PUSH
S Advantage: TENNESSEE
K/P Advantage: HOUSTON
RET Advantage: HOUSTON

Key Factors To The Game
1) Stop the run. Why you ask? Itís because Tennessee is ranked 6th in the run as opposed to 30th in the passing. In other words, they thrive off the running game. It helps them control the clock and more importantly the game. If we could stop the run (and that includes Vinceís scrambling if he plays and if his hamstring doesnít stop him from running instead of us), we can force Tennessee to rely on something that Iím sure they would prefer not to.

2) Intensity. You know that Bud Adams and Vince Young want to win this game, not to mention all of the Titans are going to be intense and come out firing because of the intense rivalry. We need to do the same, especially after what happened last time they came in town, not to mention the game last week. This is a redemption game and a rivalry game, and we need to treat it as such!!

3) Finish drives. Last week, we got in the red zone often and moved the ball easily, but we didnít finish that often. Weíve got to find a way to get points out of every drive no matter what. Brown is making all of his field goals which is a huge surprise, but that wonít win us the game. We either need to focus more on play action passes in the red zone or find a way to get our RBs in there.

nero THE zero
10-20-2007, 04:55 PM
Thanks for the analysis. I can't say that Tenn has anything remotely close to matching Dunta, so I don't see how the CB match-up is a push. But, I pretty much agree with everything else.

real
10-20-2007, 05:08 PM
Position Battle
QB Advantage: HOUSTON
RB Advantage: TENNESSEE
WR Advantage: HOUSTON
TE Advantage: HOUSTON
OL Advantage: TENNESSEE
DL Advantage: HOUSTON
LB Advantage: TENNESSEE
CB Advantage: PUSH
S Advantage: TENNESSEE
K/P Advantage: HOUSTON
RET Advantage: HOUSTON


You gave Houston the D-line advantage ?

Interesting...

I agree with the rest of this though...

And good analysis...

ObsiWan
10-20-2007, 05:14 PM
Thanks for the analysis. I can't say that Tenn has anything remotely close to matching Dunta, so I don't see how the CB match-up is a push. But, I pretty much agree with everything else.

I think that if you measure the effectiveness of our four DBs, as a whole unit, against theirs as a whole unit, its a push. But, IMO, that's more a result of their much more effective pass rush by their D-line than the talent of their DBs. Obviously, I don't agree our D-line is more effective than theirs.

Talent-wise, we're probably a little better at DB, especially if Bennett is at #2 DB.

Tourist
10-20-2007, 06:43 PM
A bit of perspective from a Titans fan....

Some good news for Texans' fans:

The Titans' offense has struggled mightily in the past couple weeks, due in large part to their inability to run the ball. In the past three games, Titans' RB's have averaged less than 3 yards per carry.

Lendale White has been very effective converting in short yardage, but has shown nothing in terms of big-play potential. (His longest run of the season is only 13 yards). Chris Brown is the Titans' home run threat, but sprained his ankle last week, and is not expected to play. This looks to be the first time Titans fans will get to see 2nd round pick Chris Henry.....a perfectly sculpted workout warrior with ideal size and measurables, blinding speed, but a very raw project who did very little in college. Intriguing, to be sure.

The Titans' WR's have been steady but unremarkable. Brandon Jones was widely regarded as the team's #1 wideout, but a knee injury has him sideline for the next couple weeks. Other Titans' wideouts have shown flashes, and Moulds has been a steady, reliable target....but overall, they've struggled to get separation, and have shown very little big-play potential.

That said, the Titans have made very little effort to stretch the field or challenge the secondary this year, and the coaches aren't real happy with the results. Look for the Titans to open things up a bit this week with a few more deep throws.

So much for the good news. Here's the bad news:

The Titans' defense is the real deal...especially up front. This very well may be the best D-line the team has fielded since coming to Nashville. These guys are just vicious....particularly against the run. To say they've held every opponent to less than 100 yards rushing doesn't begin to describe it; this bunch has absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage in almost every game. Believe me....the Texans' O-line has their work cut out for them this week.

They've also been deadly in pass rushing. With only 8 sacks, the numbers aren't all that impressive, but don't be fooled....these guys have put a major league beatdown on every QB they've faced, driving them into the ground over and over again. Surprisingly enough, QB's generally don't enjoy that much abuse. Once they get into the 3rd quarter, QB's start getting gun shy....the survival instinct kicks in, and they start rushing throws or throwing into the dirt, just to avoid getting creamed again. (Probably half of the Titans' 9 INT's were the direct result of the pass rush). Make no mistake: Schaub is going to take the beating of his life this week.

This is not to say Schaub will be ineffective. If he can stay focused, he should put up some nice numbers. Jeff Garcia did it last week; Peyton did it in week 2. Together, they combined for almost 600 yards passing...very nice, indeed. However, it's also important to note that the Titans' D has allowed only 3 passing TD's all year, and nobody has thrown more than 1 passing TD. (In fact, until last week, the Titans' secondary had scored as many TD's as they had allowed.)

The Texans' best bet is to challenge CB Nick Harper with deep throws. Harper is a very savvy player who's always in the right place and is very solid in run support, but he lacks the speed to stay with WR's deep, and has been beaten a couple times this year. Looking at the Titans' secondary as a whole, Harper is arguably the weakest link.....but in a secondary that has allowed only 3 TD's and held opposing QB's to a 66.7 passer rating, even the weakest link is still pretty darned good. (Keep in mind, we're talking about a guy who was the Colts' starter in the Super Bowl).

Overall, I'll put this game on the Titans' offense. If they can get into groove and establish some kind of rhythm, the Texans will have a hard time keeping up with them. But if the Titans' offense struggles again and ends up with 3+ turnovers (again!), then the Texans could easily pull out the win.

DiehardChris
10-20-2007, 06:57 PM
They definitely have a better D-line until ours starts to meet even the slightest bit of its potential.

Good preview, though. Keep'em coming.

Ryan
10-20-2007, 07:15 PM
can tomorrow get here already?:fans:

spurstexanstros
10-20-2007, 07:38 PM
The only key to victory.....

For the love of Bob Mcnair... please make a stop on third down.

We make stops on third down. We win that simple. Its so simple a Titan fan could understand it.

ObsiWan
10-20-2007, 08:35 PM
A bit of perspective from a Titans fan....

Some good news for Texans' fans:

The Titans' offense has struggled mightily in the past couple weeks, due in large part to their inability to run the ball. In the past three games, Titans' RB's have averaged less than 3 yards per carry.

Lendale White has been very effective converting in short yardage, but has shown nothing in terms of big-play potential. (His longest run of the season is only 13 yards). Chris Brown is the Titans' home run threat, but sprained his ankle last week, and is not expected to play. This looks to be the first time Titans fans will get to see 2nd round pick Chris Henry.....a perfectly sculpted workout warrior with ideal size and measurables, blinding speed, but a very raw project who did very little in college. Intriguing, to be sure.

The Titans' WR's have been steady but unremarkable. Brandon Jones was widely regarded as the team's #1 wideout, but a knee injury has him sideline for the next couple weeks. Other Titans' wideouts have shown flashes, and Moulds has been a steady, reliable target....but overall, they've struggled to get separation, and have shown very little big-play potential.

That said, the Titans have made very little effort to stretch the field or challenge the secondary this year, and the coaches aren't real happy with the results. Look for the Titans to open things up a bit this week with a few more deep throws.

So much for the good news. Here's the bad news:

The Titans' defense is the real deal...especially up front. This very well may be the best D-line the team has fielded since coming to Nashville. These guys are just vicious....particularly against the run. To say they've held every opponent to less than 100 yards rushing doesn't begin to describe it; this bunch has absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage in almost every game. Believe me....the Texans' O-line has their work cut out for them this week.

They've also been deadly in pass rushing. With only 8 sacks, the numbers aren't all that impressive, but don't be fooled....these guys have put a major league beatdown on every QB they've faced, driving them into the ground over and over again. Surprisingly enough, QB's generally don't enjoy that much abuse. Once they get into the 3rd quarter, QB's start getting gun shy....the survival instinct kicks in, and they start rushing throws or throwing into the dirt, just to avoid getting creamed again. (Probably half of the Titans' 9 INT's were the direct result of the pass rush). Make no mistake: Schaub is going to take the beating of his life this week.

This is not to say Schaub will be ineffective. If he can stay focused, he should put up some nice numbers. Jeff Garcia did it last week; Peyton did it in week 2. Together, they combined for almost 600 yards passing...very nice, indeed. However, it's also important to note that the Titans' D has allowed only 3 passing TD's all year, and nobody has thrown more than 1 passing TD. (In fact, until last week, the Titans' secondary had scored as many TD's as they had allowed.)

The Texans' best bet is to challenge CB Nick Harper with deep throws. Harper is a very savvy player who's always in the right place and is very solid in run support, but he lacks the speed to stay with WR's deep, and has been beaten a couple times this year. Looking at the Titans' secondary as a whole, Harper is arguably the weakest link.....but in a secondary that has allowed only 3 TD's and held opposing QB's to a 66.7 passer rating, even the weakest link is still pretty darned good. (Keep in mind, we're talking about a guy who was the Colts' starter in the Super Bowl).

Overall, I'll put this game on the Titans' offense. If they can get into groove and establish some kind of rhythm, the Texans will have a hard time keeping up with them. But if the Titans' offense struggles again and ends up with 3+ turnovers (again!), then the Texans could easily pull out the win.

Pretty decent assessment. I can find little to dispute in what you say.

But there's one game phase you failed to address: Special teams.

Without PMJones, your return game is kinda average. Mike Griffin and Chris Davis don't strike fear like PMJ used to.

On the other hand, we have a Jones of our own coming back from injury that should not be overlooked. And whild Dexter Wynn doesn't have Jerome Mathis' speed, he still does a fair job on KO returns.

Whichever side can get the most big plays out of their return game may win this one.

Go Jacoby!!

Tourist
10-20-2007, 08:41 PM
Oh, almost forgot to mention....

The Titans also have the #1 red zone defense in the league. In 13 red zone trips, the Titans' defense has allowed opponents only 3 TD's.

Tourist
10-20-2007, 08:44 PM
Pretty decent assessment. I can find little to dispute in what you say.

But there's one game phase you failed to address: Special teams.

Without PMJones, your return game is kinda average. Mike Griffin and Chris Davis don't strike fear like PMJ used to.

On the other hand, we have a Jones of our own coming back from injury that should not be overlooked. And whild Dexter Wynn doesn't have Jerome Mathis' speed, he still does a fair job on KO returns.

Whichever side can get the most big plays out of their return game may win this one.

Go Jacoby!!

Very true. I definitely give the Texans the advantage here.

Griffin was a fantastic kick returner in his first couple games, returning several kicks to midfield, but has looked relatively average in the past couple weeks.

Likewise, Chris Davis looked like the second coming of Derrick Mason early on....very quick and shifty, like a punt returner should be....but has done little in recent weeks.

The Pencil Neck
10-20-2007, 08:47 PM
Oh, almost forgot to mention....

The Titans also have the #1 red zone defense in the league. In 13 red zone trips, the Titans' defense has allowed opponents only 3 TD's.

That's OK.

We rarely score TD's from the red zone.

gtexan02
10-21-2007, 02:28 PM
Is it too late to vote?