Titans vs. Texans 2013 game preview: AFC South battle deep in Texas

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Tennessee travels to Houston hoping to prove its a viable contender in the division.

On Sunday, the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans will do battle in an early AFC South matchup at Reliant Stadium.

The Texans are in a position of Super Bowl or bust this season with a bevy of talent on both sides of the ball. Led by J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing and Arian Foster, Houston is expected to compete for an AFC title and then some under the watch of head coach Gary Kubiak. After losing in the Divisional round each of the past two seasons, big things are expected in Texas.

Thoughts are different about the team which used to call Houston a home. The Titans aren't expected to be a serious contender in the AFC let alone the AFC South, but with an upset win in Week 1 people are certainly paying more attention to Mike Munchak's group. If Tennessee can somehow pull off a second straight win on the road against a favored opponent, it would be time to reassess the Titans.

Meet the Titans

Tennessee comes in after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-9 on the road. The Titans looked very good defensively against Pittsburgh, harassing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into five sacks and numerous other pressures. Over, Tennessee's defense only allowed 195 total yards including a paltry 32 on the ground. Just as important, two turnovers were forced including a fumble at the goal line early.

Offensively, the Titans were mediocre. Quarterback Jake Locker wasn't bad but didn't really inspire a ton of confidence, completing 11 of 20 passes for 125 yards. Chris Johnson also was held in check, rushing for a meager 2.8 yard per carry for a total of 70 yards.

Meet the Texans

Houston looked dead in the water during its Week 1 contest on Monday night against the San Diego Chargers, trailing 28-7 in the third quarter. Then, the Texans' offense got hot and San Diego remembered it was San Diego, leading to an improbable 31-28 win. While the result was positive, the game certainly left plenty to be desired.

The Chargers are one of the worst teams in the league, yet hung around because of a bad Matt Schaub interception and seven penalties. On the positive side, the Texans out-gained San Diego 449-263 while holding Philip Rivers to a line of 14 of 29. Schaub also looked very good outside of his early interception, throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns.

Local take: Titans

Over at Music City Miracles, there is talk of opening up the playbook for Locker:

The Titans biggest offensive weapon is the triple threat at running back. Come Sunday though, Jake Locker is going to have to throw more frequently and with more success if the Titans want to start the year off with a win streak.

Local take: Texans

At Battle Red Blog, there was plenty of talk about the epic comeback in San Diego:

Trailing 28-7 in the 3rd quarter, the Texans finally woke up and rallied back to tie it 28-28 after an incredible interception returned for a touchdown by LB Brian Cushing, and then a 41 yard field goal by Randy "Beercan" Bullock to win the game as regulation time expired. JJ Watt, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson played like the elite players they are, and motivated their team to the biggest comeback win in Texans history.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Music City Miracles and Battle Red Blog, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@TitansMCM

@BattleRedBlog

@terrymc13 - Titans beat writer

@TaniaGanguli - Texans beat writer

Prediction

The Titans really showed something against the Steelers, playing excellent defense and shutting down Roethlisberger. Now, they face a Houston team looking to improve to 2-0 in their home opener. The Texans are a tough team to figure, looking great at times and other times leaving you scratching your head. If Schaub plays well, Houston should walk away with the win, but that's never a given. However, Houston is a more talented team and at home.

Pick: Houston 27, Tennessee 19

Odds

Houston is favored by 10.5 points at home against its AFC South rivals, according to Oddsshark.com.

Next Week

Houston travels to take on the Baltimore Ravens while Tennessee hosts San Diego.

More from SB Nation NFL:

Peyton Manning will be MVP

Week 2 picks after wild opening week

Week 2 watchability index

Captain controversy in Tampa Bay

Disarming the NFL's newest weapon: How to stop the read-option

Pride of the City: FDNY vs. NYPD's annual baseball game

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.