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View Poll Results: Who wins it?
Houston by a lot 12 31.58%
Houston barely 14 36.84%
Tennessee barely 5 13.16%
Tennessee by a lot 7 18.42%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-08-2006   #1
LORK 88
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Exclamation HOMECOMING Preview

HOUSTON VS TENNESSEE PREVIEW
By Brad Lorkovic ( LORK 88 )


Homecoming: when most people hear this, they think of those dances in high school that seemed like a bigger deal than it was. Well, this week isn’t a dance, but it is a homecoming and a bigger deal than most games. If you hadn’t figured it out, Vince Young is back in town to prove us that we made the wrong pick in April. For us, it’s a chance to get revenge on Tennessee for what happened week 8 (which could be considered one of our worst games of the season). So who really gets revenge in this game: Vince on Houston, or the Texans on Bud Adams?

Houston’s Running Game vs. Tennessee’s Run D: Again like always, we’ve got to be able to run the ball. As for run defense, the Titan’s run defense hasn’t changed too much since our last meeting. They do have Haynesworth back and they’ve been progressing against the run, but there is still room to improve. For the D Line, Haynesworth and “Bear” Smith are the big rocks in the middle, with Starks being the athletic DT coming in if Smith can’t go (injured hamstring). Vanden Bosch and LaBoy are at the DE spots. Bosch has good size and is extremely quick, while LaBoy is undersized who uses his speed more. At LB, Bullocks is the most talented and the playmaker. Thornton is the other OLB and has been a solid tackler, but is also deceptively athletic. Sirmon is the LB in the middle and is considered the weak link and average compared to the other two, but is reliable and consistent. One thing to note is that Chris Hope will sometimes come up and play the run as an extra LB. For us, it comes down to finding consistency in any of our RBs, and finding the running lanes. I’d be more inclined to run against LaBoy, but Bullocks is right there behind him. Personally, I feel we need to take our runs inside. However, we need to hit the holes fast and not allowing the DTs to get penetration. I don’t feel getting past the D Line will be the problem; it will be stopping the LBs from making plays as they can run all over the field (including Hope).

Houston’s Passing Game vs. Tennessee’s Pass D: Simply put, last week was unacceptable. Whether you blame the O Line or Carr, both need to play better. Tennessee like their run D has more talent than stats indicate. Pac Man is the most talented player in the backfield and is starting to come into his own this season. He’s quick and cocky, but has mental lapses and he is his own enemy in that sense. The other CB is Reynaldo Hill who took advantage of not getting notice last year, but this year has been different. He plays a step behind and is now getting the most attention because of Pac Man’s emergence. The safeties are Hope and Thompson. Hope has had a great year as both a tackler and in coverage. He’s very balanced and consistent, and his leadership has been welcomed. Thompson on the other hand is very inconsistent and tends to disappear some games. As for their pass rush, its best defined as quick and tenacious. LaBoy is better known as a pass rusher, as is Vanden Bosch. For us, it will come down to creating mismatches against their weaker secondary. We need to try to attack Hill and Thompson as much as possible. We also need to keep Carr off his back so he has time to stretch the field rather than throw the check down pass every time.

Tennessee’s Rushing Game vs. Houston’s Run D: So far this season, our run D has improved, but we haven’t faced a running team like Tennessee in a few weeks. Granted, the stats are skewed because Vince runs on pass plays, but he must be accounted for too. The Titan’s leading rusher this season has been Travis Henry who’s been playing like it was 2003. He’s been hitting holes fast and shows a good burst when he gets to the second level. LenDale White has also seen carries, and is looking decent (although he is questionable this week). He’s showing the vision that many people thought was better than Reggie Bush’s. Also, there’s Vince who can take off at any given moment when a play breaks down. Their O Line has been solid this year, mainly because of the acquisition of players like C Kevin Mawae. However, Ben Olson has been ruled questionable for the game so there could be a weak link at RG. For us, we need to clog the lanes in the middle. Henry is better known for breaking off big runs in the middle rather than sprinting to the outside, so I feel we need to make it tough on him. Thomas Johnson could be back this week which should help, as well as the majority of our D Line becoming healthier after some games with injuries.

Tennessee’s Passing Game vs. Houston’s Pass D: Our pass D played better last week, but is still struggling overall. In terms of passing, Vince is still mediocre (10 TDs and 10 INTs, 50% completion rate), but those stats shouldn’t be taken for granted. As for weapons, two of Vince’s biggest targets are out for the season (Ben Troupe and David Givens). That leaves WRs Drew Bennett, Bobby Wade, and Brandon Jones, with TE Bo Scaife. Bennett is a long strider who uses his size well, while Wade is an undersized speedster. Jones has good hands, and size, but is still very young and learning. Scaife is a solid receiving TE who runs solid routes to get open because he’s not as athletic as Troupe. Robinson has been improving, but Faggins is a liability and seems to be a step behind. Our Safeties also seem better built against he run than the pass. For us as a whole, we need to not give anything to Bennett deep as he can and will win jump balls. We’ve also got to find a way to disrupt routes so Vince’s timing is off. I expect to see a lot of intermediate routes, so I say we run more zone coverages including zone blitzes. Lastly, we need to make sure that when we blitz, we get to him. Nothing is worse than running right past him and allowing him to go 20 yards because of over pursuing.


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

Key Factors To The Game
1) Make Vince throw the ball. Part of this also has to deal with stopping the run in general. It’s not a knock against Vince’s arm (even though his completion % is at 50, and he’s thrown as many INTs as TDs), but I’d rather make him throw on us rather than run whenever he finds a running lane (which is often). He’s done a great job keeping drives alive and I feel its more because of his legs rather than his arm. In a sense, let’s not give him the choice of running or throwing; let’s just make him throw the ball to see how he handles it. Therefore, I’d rather make him throw the ball than just take off and run for the 1st down.

2) Please, for the life of David Carr run effectively. If we can’t run the ball, that requires us to pass, and with an even more vicious pass rush that isn’t a good situation. Our O Line hasn’t been doing much in terms of pass blocking, so making Carr sit back there will turn him into the human piņata of 2005. Whether it’s Lundy, Gado, Dayne, or even Taylor, we’ve got to keep Tennessee honest with the run so that we can use the pass game when we want rather because we need to.

3) Keep forcing turnovers while reducing our own. In turn, this also affects field position. Last week, we had -5 pass yards and still won the game. Most of this was due to the fact that we forced 5 turnovers and started most of our possessions in the 2nd half on the Raiders side of the field. If it wasn’t for turnovers, I think we would’ve lost last week. I feel that if we have another week of in the positive turnover margin, we have a good chance of winning this game.
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Last edited by LORK 88; 12-09-2006 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 12-09-2006   #2
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Appreciate the efforts Lork. I do disagree on who would be favored in the positional battles for QB and DL, but otherwise spot on in my opinion. I would remiss to not state that I still see us winning 27-14.

Position Battle
QB Advantage: TENNESSEE (not close at this moment)
RB Advantage: TENNESSEE
WR Advantage: HOUSTON
TE Advantage: TENNESSEE (consistently over the years have used their TE effectively)
OL Advantage: TENNESSEE
DL Advantage: HOUSTON
LB Advantage: TENNESSEE
CB Advantage: TENNESSEE
S Advantage: TENNESSEE
K/P Advantage: TENNESSEE
RET Advantage: PUSH
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Old 12-09-2006   #3
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Yeah, don't really know how the QB advantage can go to Carr here. Otherwise good work.
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Old 12-09-2006   #4
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Cool Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Who are their LB's???? I would think we have the advantage.

I'm going to say by 3, but which team depends on which Texans show up. But the game will be close either way. If the Texans don't show up to play, the heart of the D will step up.
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Old 12-09-2006   #5
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

As much as I love Ryans at this moment, Bulluck will be the best player on the field this Sunday.
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Old 12-09-2006   #6
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankee_In_TX View Post
Who are their LB's???? I would think we have the advantage.

.
DeMeco is good and all but he isnt close to Bulluck.....Yet, and David Thortons probally the best tackling linebacker in the AFC south.
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Old 12-09-2006   #7
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Cool Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Quote:
Originally Posted by doughboy View Post
DeMeco is good and all but he isnt close to Bulluck.....Yet, and David Thortons probally the best tackling linebacker in the AFC south.
Oh. I'm not up on D's. I know the occasional CB or LB, but only the "famous" ones/big playmakers. But I stick by my game predictions Good preview guys.
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Old 12-09-2006   #8
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

How do you post a poll? Trying to do one now
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Old 12-09-2006   #9
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Quote:
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How do you post a poll? Trying to do one now
http://forums.houstontexans.com/showthread.php?t=30217
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Old 12-09-2006   #10
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Quote:
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DeMeco is good and all but he isnt close to Bulluck.....Yet, and David Thortons probally the best tackling linebacker in the AFC south.
Well... YET may be here already. Atleast on paper.

http://www.nfl.com/stats/playersort/...S/2006/regular
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Old 12-09-2006   #11
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Wow, Lork....for a non-Titan fan, that was a very thorough and well-informed review. Color me impressed.

Just a couple things worth mentioning....

Lendale White has a hip flexor and the flu, and didn't practice all week. I'd be very suprised if he's active on Sunday. Expect to see Chris Brown backing up Travis Henry. Brown looked awful in the Titans first few games, and has been inactive since then. However, we haven't seen him running behind the much-improved O-line....if he can regain his 2004 form, when he routinely had 100+ yards before halftime, Brown and Henry could combine for a devastating 1-2 punch. (Brown is also the team's most effective receiving RB, and turned several screen passes into huge plays last year.)

On defense, you already know about the usual suspects.....Bulluck, Haynesworth, KVB, Pacman, Chris Hope, Thornton, etc. Watch for the Titans' fast-emerging rookie nickelback, Cortland Finnegan (#31). A 7th round pick out of tiny Samford University, this kid has been an absolute stud. All he does is make plays...tipped passes, sacks, forced fumbles, strong in run support. He's also a force on special teams.

The Titans' pass rush has actually deteriorated somewhat over the last few weeks. They had success pressuring Peyton last week, but they've had only three QB sacks total in the last 6 weeks....hardly awe-inspiring. However, Kyle VandenBosch has historically had his best games against the Texans, and averages 2-3 sacks per game on Carr....this one could go either way.

Vince Young's season statistics (50% completions, 10 TD's, 10 INT's) may not look like much at first glance, but they're also very misleading. Vince has really come into his own in the last few weeks....consider his numbers over the past two games.

passing: 39/60, 412 yds, 4 TD's, 2 INT's.... 93.9 QB rating
rushing: 14 attempts, 147 yards, 1 TD

Titans fans are quickly learning what Longhorn fans have known for years...this kid's pretty good.

Having read all this, you probably think I'm your typical Titans homer who's expecting a blowout win over the Texans. Not at all. In fact, I'm very worried about this game....after three consecutive upsets over playoff contenders, it would be very easy for the Titans to get cocky and overconfident.

It was one thing for them to have some gut-check wins against heavily favored opponents; it will be something else entirely to maintain that intensity and focus against a team with whom they're evenly matched, a game in which they can't draw from that underdog adrenalin. The Titans are clearly a much better team than they were early this year; this game should give fans a good barometer of just how far they've come and where they still have room to grow.
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Old 12-09-2006   #12
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Default Re: HOMECOMING Preview

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Changed QB advantage to Tennessee, DL to Push. However, Im keeping TE Houston's advantage because I feel Daniels is more talented and Tennessee's down to their #3 TE. As for the LB situation, it stays Tenn because while Bulluck and Ryans could be considered equal, Id take Thorton and Sirmon over Greenwood and Orr.
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