Free NFL Pick: Tennessee at Houston 11-28-2010

November 27, 2010

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Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

Sunday November 28th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Even

Overview:

The 5-5 Tennessee Titans are only one game behind first place in their division, but their season is going to be an uphill battle. With a quarterback head coach rift, the Titans are having serious quarterback questions. They haven’t been able to utilize Randy Moss at all and have dropped three straight games.

The 4-6 Texans have been picked as the sleeper in the AFC for a number of years now. Every year it seems as though they are going to make a playoff push and solidify themselves as a force. They have fallen victim to a brutal AFC South in the past, but this year the division is wide open. Even so, the Texans are sitting at the bottom of the division, after losing four in a row. Who can snap their losing streak and who will be stuck at the bottom of the division?

Keys to the Game:

  • The Texans allow more than 300 yards through the air on average, but it won’t matter on Sunday. The Titans have placed Vince Young on IR and Kerry Collins has an injured calf. This means 6th round pick Rusty Smith will be getting the nod on Sunday. He came in for nine plays against Washington and threw three completions and one interception. Smith clearly is not the answer to getting Moss the ball more. The Titans don’t want this to get out of control, so cutting the play book in half is probably a solid first step this week.
  • Mario Williams added to sacks against the New York Jets last week, giving him 7.5 on the year. The Jets have an excellent front, so this feat deserves some recognition, though the Titans weren’t able to come away with the victory. It is unlikely the Titans are really going to put the ball in the air excessively, given their quarterback situation, but should they do so, hopefully they learned from the Jets that blocking Mario Williams one on one is virtually impossible.
  • Matt Schaub needs to frequent Andre Johnson’s services this Sunday. Johnson is one of those guys who can completely alter the course of the game. At times, he looks like he is playing at a level that is head and shoulders above the competition. Given the Titans pass defense, it is likely Johnson will have at least 100 yards. Arian Foster is a huge part of the offense, but he is effective in part because of the huge threat Johnson poses. Having one of the best in the game split out wide makes it impossible to load up the box.

Key Matchup:

Chris Johnson Vs. Arian Foster

  • Chris Johnson averages over 100 yards a game for his career. He is easily the most electrifying running back in the NFL. He is going to need to have a monster game in order to make this game close. The Texans are likely to bring the heat to disturb the pocket and keep the running game in check. They can’t overpursue, or the Johnson will make them pay dearly. If Johnson doesn’t put up 120 yards, the Titans don’t have a chance.
  • Arian Foster already has 1,000 yards on the ground. He gives the Texans a complete offense, bringing a dynamic in the run game that has not been present in the history of the Texans. Having a running back that can take advantage of Andre Johnson’s presence and force defenses to play honestly makes the Texans versatile and well rounded.

Wrap Up:

I don’t like where either of these teams are headed. The Demeco Ryans injury has shaken up the Texans defense. If Vince Young was in the game, I would give the nod to the Titans because of how miserable the Texans pass defense is. The fact of the matter is, in a pick’em game where Rusty Smith is under center for one team and Matt Schaub is at home on the other sideline, I’m taking Schaub ten out of ten times.

Free NFL Pick: Houston



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