In a battle of two AFC South rivals, Monday Night Football will see the Tennessee Titans (5-5) traveling to NRG Stadium to take on the Houston Texans (7-3). While the Texans have a pretty solid record, they have been a far cry from a sure bet this season. Of their 7 wins, 4 of them have come by 3 points or less, including last week’s 23-21 win over the Washington Redskins. Still, with JJ Watt anchoring the defense and Deshaun Watson leading the offense, they can be a handful for any opposition. For the Titans, they have had a rollercoaster season in terms of consistency. Two weeks ago they went out and stomped the New England Patriots 34-10 only to follow it with a 38-10 loss at Indianapolis last week. This season the Titans are 2-4 when playing on the road. The two will square off on Monday night with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.
The point spread comes in with the Houston Texans being 4-point favorites at home. The over/under on total points scored is set at 41.5 points.
By The Numbers
Both of these teams have been pretty stingy on the defensive side. The Houston Texans rank 7th in the NFL in average yards allowed (330.5) while the Titans come in just a couple spots later at 9th (334.9 yards). Similarly, in average points allowed, the Titans give up an average of 18.9 (good for 2nd in the NFL) while the Texans come in at 5th (20.5 points per game).
On the offensive side, there is a bit more discrepancy. The Texans are gaining an average of 364.2 yards per game of total offense (ranks 13th) while the Titans have struggled to the tune of just 295.4 yards per game (30th in the NFL). In terms of average points scored, the Texans come in with an average of 23.9 points (16th in the NFL) while the Titans come in at 28th (17.8 points per game).
Titans Hoping To Close Divisional Gap
Despite some concerns with a mild neck injury, Marcus Mariota is expected to start for the Tennessee Titans in this one. On the season, Mariota is 146 for 216 for 1,583 yards, 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He has also been sacked 29 times this season. His health is still good news for Titans fans as he is a definite upgrade over backup Blaine Gabbert.
Mariota’s leading receivers this season have been Corey Davis (606 yards, 2 touchdowns) and running back Dion Lewis (278 yards, 1 touchdowns). Speaking of Lewis, he is part of a running back tandem with Derrick Henry. Lewis has rushed for 420 yards and 1 touchdown on 122 carries while Henry has rushed for 404 yards and 4 touchdowns on 110 carries.
Defensively, the Titans are led by Wesley Woodyard (45 tackles and 3.5 sacks), Jayon Brown (4.5 sacks and Adoree’ Jackson and Kevin Byard (2 interceptions apiece).
Texans Looking For Commanding Division Lead
The Houston Texans continue to win, even if they aren’t always pretty. Leading the offensive attack for the Texans is quarterback Deshaun Watson. This season he has thrown for 2,597 yards, 18 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He has also been sacked an astounding 33 times. Watson has also rushed for 275 yards and a touchdown.
Watson’s best receiver this season has been DeAndre Hopkins. On the season, Hopkins has 950 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns on 68 receptions. Aside from Hopkins, look for Keke Coutee and Demaryius Thomas to be secondary targets for Watson. In the run game, Lamar Miller has led the way with 611 yards and 2 touchdowns on 145 carries. He has also added 127 yards and a touchdown receiving out of the backfield.
One of the biggest strengths of the Texans is their defense. JJ Watt leads the team in sacks with 10 this season with Jadeveon Clowny coming in at second with 6.5 sacks. Tyrann Mathieu leads the team in tackles (52) while Justin Reid leads the team in interceptions (3).
Texans Win, But Question Is Whether They Cover
There is not much I like about the Titans offense at all. They struggle to put points on the board and they don’t have a standout player at any position. For them to have success in this game it is going to come down to their defense. That is where my struggles come in. I expect the combination of the Texans’ offense and defense to do enough to win this game, I just don’t know if I have a good handle on whether they will cover the 4-point spread or not. Like I mentioned earlier, 4 of their 7 wins have been by 3 points or less. Still, I think the Texans defense will hold the Titans in check and will do enough to pull away late in the game. It might not be a high scoring affair, but my money would go with the Texans at -4.