Last week was incredibly disappointing. The offense has been an absolute mess so far this season. Now, moving on to the next matchup, things will not get easier:
Reasons For Confidence: No Watt, Players Return, Texans' Offense
No Watt: Historically, JJ Watt has been an absolute game wrecker, especially against the Titans. This week, and this season, the Titans' offensive line will catch a break. Facing the best defensive player in the league over the past couple of years has forced the Titans to work to gameplan around him, which limits the offense. Also, when Watt inevitably makes plays, they are game-changing plays. By catching a break and not facing Watt this week, there is an entirely new dynamic.
Players Return: After the past couple of offensive performances for the Titans, especially last week, fans have been looking forward to the return of Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright. While Delanie Walker's status is up in the air for Sunday, the odds that he plays on Sunday are higher than last week. He is the Titans best weapon through the air on offense, and was sorely missed last week. On the other hand, Kendall Wright looks poised to return to the lineup. However, how effective he will be remains to be seen. He has not been on the field in over a month, and things such as timing, game condition, and overall comfortability take time, especially when jumping into a new offense where players have looked confused and uncomfortable. That being said, the return of two key players is always a positive, especially for a struggling offense.
Texans' Offense: The numbers suggest that this offense is struggling just as much as the Titans' is. Both units are averaging 14 points per game. Of course, a shutout against the Patriots will drive the average down. However, the offense does have real problems. The main problem has been the offensive line. Not being able to keep Brock Osweiler upright and pave the way for Lamar Miller was a big issue last week against the Patriots. Jurrell Casey and Brian Orakpo should have productive days. If the Titans want to win this game, they need to win at the line of scrimmage.
Reasons For Concern: Struggling Offense, Perimeter Matchups
Struggling Offense: Not much can be said about the Titans offense that has not already been said. The aerial attack has been absolutely nonexistent. Marcus Mariota looks extremely uncomfortable right now, wide receivers cannot get open, and one bad play is completely ruining a drive. One can easily argue that of the three games, the worst offensive performances have been against Detroit and Oakland.Now, facing a tougher defense with tougher matchups, there is not much reason to believe that the offense's breakout game is coming.
Perimeter Matchups: So far this season, Perrish Cox has been picked on hard by opposing quarterbacks. Now, he will have some tough matchups against two very fast and effective wide receivers in Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller. If Cox cannot hold his own, then it will be a very long day. He is going to need some extra help from safeties, and from the pass rush.
Prediction: I believe that the Texans' offense is better than the numbers suggest. They are certainly not the most talented offense that the Titans have faced this season, but they match up well against the Titans at home. They should win this one. Texans win, 27-14.