Earlier this week we discussed the Tennessee Titans (1-2) and the House of Horrors that their home field, Nissan Stadium, has become.
This week the Titans will play at an equally scary venue when they travel to NRG Stadium to take on the division leading Houston Texans (2-1).
The Titans haven’t won in Houston since 2012, and have been outscored there 133-65 during that span. Their last visit to NRG Stadium went so bad that it now lives in infamy.
Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and the entire front office watched in horror as the Texans pummeled Tennessee 20-7 last November.
Do not be deceived by the score ladies and gentlemen. When I say pummeled…I mean pummeled.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was beaten to a pulp by the Texans defense. J.J. Watt had a career day, and the Titans’ front office apparently had enough. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired after the game.
The embarrassing defeat in Houston was the catalyst for the wholesale changes the Titans have made since then, from the general manager…to the head coach…to the 22 new players on the opening day 53 man roster.
If the Titans have any chance of ending their H-Town losing streak Sunday, then the players that were not on the field last November need to deliver in a big way.
Marcus Mariota missed last year’s meeting due to a knee injury, and while he’s had his ball security issues this season, he’s a superior upgrade over Mettenberger.
And for whatever reason, he plays a lot better on the road.
Mariota just needs to settle down and take what the defense gives him this week. One could argue that if not for his league-leading seven turnovers then the Titans could very well be 3-0.
Running back DeMarco Murray has been the run-away offensive MVP for the Titans after three games. Not only is he averaging six yards per carry, but he is also the team leader in receptions.
For the Titans to improve on their league-worst 14 points a game this Sunday, Murray must get a ton of touches in both facets of the offense.
Rookie running back Derrick Henry must make the most of his touches when he spells Murray. He’s proven to be far more elusive and proficient as a receiver than many thought he would be.
If things go their way, then the Titans won’t see much of their trio of new receivers, but when called upon Tajae Sharpe, Rishard Matthews, and Andre Johnson must make plays far more often than not this week.
I am sure that offense coordinator Terry Robiskie will look to get Johnson, a Texans legend, involved early and often in this one.
While things have not gone Tennessee’s way the last several games in Houston, the Titans caught a couple of breaks heading into their annual trip this week.
Watt, who has feasted on the Titans’ offense the last several years, will miss the remainder of the season due to reoccurring back issues.
At the same time, Tennessee gets one of their best playmakers back this week as wide receiver Kendall Wright is set to make his season debut.
Will it be enough to overcome Houston’s stronghold of the series? If it is, then the Titans could find themselves atop the division at the end of the game.