Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans let one slip away last week when the New England Patriots drove the length of the field in the final minute to pull out a 36-33 decision. Houston will try to rebound when it hosts the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in a crucial early-season AFC South contest.
The Texans have won back to division titles but it is the Titans who were the preseason AFC South favorites. Watson nearly led Houston to a shocking win at New England last week by throwing for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns but he also had two costly picks. Tennessee will ride the arm and the legs of Marcus Mariota, who has thrown for 696 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Houston defeated Tennessee 27-20 at NRG Stadium last season and earned a playoff berth by capturing the tiebreaker as both teams finished with 9-7 records.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -1.5. O/U: 43.5.
ABOUT THE TITANS (2-1): Tennessee seems poised to take control of the division with an offense ranked fifth in total yards and sixth in scoring, averaging 28.7 points following last week’s 33-27 victory over Seattle. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry have been a solid combo in the backfield with both averaging over five yards a carry with a rushing score. Rishard Matthews has become a threat at wideout, leading the team with 201 receiving yards, while tight end Delanie Walker is tops with 15 receptions.
ABOUT THE TEXANS (1-2): Houston’s near upset at New England was encouraging in some regards but the Texans’ highly regarded defense was gashed for 337 yards through the air and they enter Sunday’s game allowing 24.7 points a game. Star defensive end J.J. Watt has failed to register a sack in his first three games and the Texans watched Tom Brady march his team 85 yards for the final score with little resistance. Houston’s lone victory came at winless Cincinnati, and it has received little from running back Lamar Miller, who leads the team in rushing with 182 yards and no touchdown on 49 carries .
1. Tennessee won the second matchup last season, snapping a five-game Houston winning streak in the series.
2. Texans WR Will Fuller V broke his collarbone in the preseason and is listed as questionable for Sunday.
3. The Texans are 0-1 at home, losing a 29-7 decision against Jacksonville in a game where they allowed 10 sacks.
PREDICTION: Texans 24, Titans 21