Houston at Tennessee
Time: NOON (CBS)
Spread: TEN -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Tennessee Titans are 4-0 after knocking off the lowly Buffalo Bills 42-16 last week. It looks to stay perfect this week as it hosts the visiting Houston Texans as 3.5-point favorites. The game will air at NOON (EST) on CBS, and the over/under is set at 53.5 total points according to NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Tennessee had close calls in Games 2 and 3 this season, edging out the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings, but last week was an outright-domination of the Buffalo Bills. The Titans won 42-16 as Ryan Tannehill continued his excellent marksmanship in completing 21 of 28 passes for 195 yards and a trio of TD passes. Tannehill added another TD on one of his four rushes for 42 yards, while Derrick Henry had 19 carries for 57 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Titans rushed 34 times for 139 yards, averaging 4.1-per-carry.
But perhaps what really keyed the win over Buffalo was the outstanding effort from the Titans’ defensive unit. It forced two picks from Bills QB Josh Allen and it also forced a fumble (which Tennessee gained possession of) from Andre Roberts. Although the Bills got massive games from WRs Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Cole Beasley, the turnovers were too much to overcome with the Titans’ clicking on offense. It was the best defensive performance of the year for Tennessee, which by most reckonings is still a lot of work away from being near an “elite” defensive team.
Tannehill has again proven the key in the Titans’ massive turnaround, which began last season when the team essentially gave up on former draft pick Marcus Mariota. Tannehill never found his way with the Miami Dolphins, but this season with the Titans he is completing 68.9 percent of his passes and already has topped 1,000 yards passing this season. His rushing has been perhaps just as impressive, with his 5.1 yards-per-carry and 77 yards through four games.
Henry has been consistent, though perhaps not quite as spectacular as the lead back. He has tallied 376 yards and four touchdowns, but his 3.7 yards-per-carry leave some to be desired, still. Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis have been the top two pass catchers. Smith leads the team in receptions (18) and yards (221), and he has five of the team’s nine rushing touchdowns. He should be a strong contender to start at TE in the Pro Bowl with these figures potentially be sustained by the Titans’ hot offense.
The Houston Texans are just 1-4 after picking up its first win last week in a 30-14 trouncing of the Jacksonville Jaguars. To be sure, Houston’s early schedule has been perhaps the league’s toughest, with matchups against Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota helping shove the Texans off to its tough 0-4 start before it finally won last week.
The Texans have plenty of room for optimism despite the seeming struggles. Deshaun Watson is finding his way still, but his 66.9 percent completion ratio and nine TDs are strong. Less valiant is the five interceptions and 17 (!) sacks through just five games. Watson has rushed 19 times for 83 yards as well, including a rushing TD, but many feel the talented Clemson product is merely scratching the surface of his immense potential since being selected No. 12 overall in 2017.
David Johnson has been fair as the team’s No. 1 backfield option, but perhaps it is time to get Duke Johnson some more looks rushing as well. Johnson has attempted 68 of the team’s 102 rushing attempts, but Duke Johnson could be a lingering monster if he develops with more playing time. David Johnson has rushed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, and he has 16 of the team’s 23 first downs. The thought is by relieving some of that load Duke Johnson could begin to flourish, but with just 13 carries through his three appearances, it is tough to gauge if that time is nearing for the Texans. A loss this week could push it closer.