Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans Picks & Preview

The Houston Texans are having a great start to their season and once again they are flying under the radar. As one of three 3-0 teams, the Texans are getting the least attention. Then there are the Tennessee Titans, who need this win to stay alive in the AFC South conversation (1pm ET, Sunday, September 30).

NFL Odds at BetOnlineThe Titans are coming off a close win against the Detroit Lions but don’t read too much into that. It is their only win on the season and some of their main concerns were up front and evident during this lucky victory.

All-in-all, the teams should provide an interesting match-up. The Texans are favored by a whopping twelve points and at this point in the season, if any team is prepped to cover a double-digit spread it would be Houston.

The Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson phenomenon

If you ever take a look at the score sheet after a Texans win, you’ll notice all three of these names prominently written in the ink. QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster are about as good a three-pronged attack that exists currently in the NFL. Schaub isn’t the best QB. He probably isn’t even in the top ten but when it comes down to it, these three together on offense is something defenses don’t want to face.

Here are the numbers on the season:

GAME 1: Texans defeat Miami Dolphins 30-10
M. Schaub- 266 YDS, 1 TD
A. Foster- 26 CAR, 79 YDS, 2 TD
A. Johnson- 8 REC, 119 YDS, 1 TD

GAME 2: Texans defeat Jacksonville Jaguars 27-7
M. Schaub- 195 YDS
A. Foster- 28 CAR, 110 YDS, 1 TD
A. Johnson- 3 REC, 21 YDS

GAME 3: Texans defeat Denver Broncos 31-25
M. Schaub- 290 YDS, 4 TD
A. Foster- 25 CAR, 105 YDS
A. Johnson- 2 REC, 72 YDS, 1 TD

When looking at this stat lines from the Texans three games, there are some observations that can made. First off, Arian Foster, who has been dealing with an ongoing knee injury, has been getting a lot of carries on this short season. Totaling 79 carries so far, Foster hasn’t gone a game without 25 carries since 2011. The Houston offense is quite literally run through their Pro-Bowl running back.

Foster ran for 115 yards, caught passes for 119 yards and scored three TDs in last season’s blowout 41-7 win over the Titans. It is worth noting that Johnson was out most of last season with a hamstring injury but still, the Texans are a run first team and this really is Foster’s offense.

Another observation is Johnson’s numbers.  He started the season really well but then was almost non-existent to the offense in the team’s second game. He came back to catch a TD pass and record 72 receiving yards in the third game but even then was targeted just four times and caught only two of those passes. This says that other teams are catching on and are putting most of their efforts behind stopping Schaub from hitting his favorite target.

The best news for Schaub, Johnson and Foster, who in addition to being the essential piece of the running game also catches short passes, is that the Titans defense is almost dead last in the league when it comes to the defensive categories. They have allowed the 30th worst passing defense yielding over 312 yards a game. They have also not fared any better in stopping the run, giving up over 150 yards a game which is ranked 29th.

What this means for Houston? Don’t be so surprised if they dominate the Titans much the same as they did last season.

What chance the Titans?

I don’t believe the Titans have a chance to win this game. I don’t even think they have the offense to make it interesting. Their passing game with Jake Locker at QB has improved from last season but the problem is, WR Kenny Britt and TE Jared Cook are both banged up. Britt especially may not play.

I’d give the Titans offense a fighting chance if it was certain Britt would play but without him, Locker really has no weapon he can rely on. Not to mention, in addition to Houston possessing the league’s fifth best rushing offense, they also have the fifth best rushing defense and fourth best passing defense. Essentially, this means Titans’ running back Chris Johnson probably won’t get a single positive yard on the day. Also, this means that defensive end Mario Williams will likely have a field day when it comes to rushing the passer.

Titans at Texans Betting Picks

A twelve point spread could appear daunting but the way the Texans have been playing and the way the Titans have been playing, there is no reason to think the Texans won’t cover it.

  • Pick Houston Texans -12 points on the spread @ -110 with BetOnline Sportsbook. It is -12.5pts with Bovada at the same odds.
  • With the over/under at 44.5 points, take the over on @ -110 with BetOnline Sportsbook. Again, Bovada are not as attractive as they go over 45 points @ -110.

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NFL betting lines at BetOnline