Titans 2010 Schedule Preview - Week 12 - Houston Texans

This will be part of an ongoing series where we take a look at each individual team we will face this season.

The 2009 Season was a banner for the Houston Texans.  It was a culmination of years and years of hard work.  After such a successful season, Texans fans finally feel like they can contend with any team that isn't quarterbacked by Vince Young.  They will no longer have to take being treated like the little brother of the AFC South.  Nope.  Not anymore.  Because for the first time in their short history, the Texans finished second in the AFC South.  And, that's not all.  The team posted their first winning record at 9-7.  Yup.  Things are looking up for this team.  Next stop?  The Super Bowl.

Follow me through the jump for a look at the Houston Texans 2009 Season, the offseason, and three keys to winning this matchup.

2009 Season (9-7)

Offensive YPG

Passing YPG

Rushing YPG PPG Offensive DVOA Defensive YPG D. Passing YPG D. Rushing YPG Defensive PPG Defensive DVOA
2009 Season 383.1 290.9 92.2 24.2  13.2%
324.9 217.9 106.9 20.8 -6.0%
NFL Rank 4 1 30 10 11
13 17
10
17 19

* stats from NFL.com and Footballoutsiders.com

It was a roller coaster ride last season for Texans fans.  The season started off positive.  Heading into week 9, the team sat at 5-3.  Then the wheels fell off.  The Texans lost 4 straight, all to division opponents.  They closed the season strong with 4 wins, but it was too little too late.  9-7 and second in the division wasn't good enough to get the team into the playoffs.

The Texans were completely bi polar offensively.  Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson led one of the most dangerous passing attacks in football, and even led the NFL in gross passing yardage.  However, the ground game was a different story.  Steve Slaton suffered a big sophomore slump.  He was eventually benched midseason which led to the RB carousel of Ryan Moats, Chris Brown, and Arian Foster.  If the Texans can establish a little more balance, this could be a powerful offensive unit.

On the other side of the football, the defense was merely average.  Run and Pass Defense DVOA's are basically middle of the pack.  However, this is no fault of the defensive line's, which Football Outsider's has ranked as the 5th best in the NFL.  My sense is that an upgrade in pass coverage could go a long way in improving this defense for 2010.

The Offseason:  Free Agency and The Draft

There was very little activity for this team in the way of free agency acquisitions.  In fact, the only house hold name acquired was Neil Rackers (K).  You can view the rest of the acquisitions here.

The Texans had a successful draft.  Their first round selection was used on Kareem Jackson (CB) from Alabama.  While it was a bit of a head scratcher that he was taken a head of Kyle Wilson, this still clearly fills a need for Houston.  The second rounder was used to select Ben Tate (RB) from Auburn.  In lieu of Slaton's recent struggles, this appears to be a good fit.  Scouts also believe that Tate will be a good fit for Kubiak's zone running system.  You can view the rest of the picks here.

Three keys to winning

1.  Bring the blitz early, and often.  Effective blitzing can essentially shut down this dismal rushing attack.  Additionally, with our lingering questions at corner, we'll need consistent pressure on Schaub.  When teams brought pressure last year, Schaub was worse than when teams did not.

 

2.  Get CJ to the edge.  The Texans are solid with their front four.  While we could have some limited success up the middle, there needs to be an emphasis to get CJ to the edge, in space where he's dangerous.

3. Let Vince make plays.  This is a little vague, but I think the point is that you need to let Vince attack.  He's yet to let the team down against this opponent.

On paper, this matchup looks difficult given the passing attack of the Texans.  However, until they show me that they can beat Vince Young, I'm going to continue to pick Tennessee.  Titans win 31-27.

Looking ahead:  Week 13 we'll play the Jags again, this time in Tennessee.  You can check out that preview here.  Titans win that matchup 21-13, boosting their record to 8-4.

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