As a native Houstonian and former Titans (henceforth known as the Oilers, like they truly are!) fan, this week’s Texans-Oilers matchup is another blood-boiling showdown.
After last week’s performance, the Texans need to step up in a big way if they hope to achieve our first winning season and playoff berth. After seeing Dunta “D-Rob” Robinson’s “Pay Me, Rick” shoe-a-gram, the Texans still seem to lack the true desire, the will or the know-how to win.
If they are to meet expectations, the “me-athons” must come to an end. Successful players on successful teams are those who receive the big contracts (e.g. Asante Samuels and Albert Haynesworth) rather than good players on mediocre teams (D-Rob).
Texans players (especially the D) need to realize that to be successful this year, they need to go out and play with the confidence that they can and will win any game (e.g. Patriots, Chargers and Steelers last week). Let’s take a look at each team’s chances heading into their Week Two showdown.
Why The Titans (Oilers) Will Win
Last week, the Texans' offense was inept against a restructured Jets defense. Granted, defenses morph faster than offenses and head coach Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme is hectic and disruptive for any offense, but the Texans (with all their offensive weapons) should not have looked that lackluster.
This week, they face an even more grueling and battle-tested Oilers defense. In Nashville last year, the Oilers defense (mainly Haynesworth) raised havoc on Schaub and forced him to make pivotal turnovers. Don’t be shocked to see that same M.O. this week.
Offensively, the Oilers will attack one of the Texans' biggest weaknesses: run defense. Like past Oilers teams, Coach Fisher will dole out large doses of smash-mouth, grind-it-out football. Historically, these types of games have been bad news for the Texans.
By attacking the Texans' offense and keeping it out of sync for another week—coupled with keeping the ball on the ground and controlling the clock—the Oilers can again win another tough, hard-nosed game.
Why The Texans Will Win
No Albert Haynesworth and an embarrassing opening-week fiasco should be motivation enough. Schaub’s biggest boogie man is finally gone, but the heat will still come.
Look for the Texans' offense to snap out of their Week One slump and seek redemption against a bitter division rival. If Schaub and Andre Johnson get into a rhythm early and often this week, the pass will spread the Oilers' stingy defense and open the run game for Steve Slaton.
The Texans must be able to exhaust the Oilers' defense and keep it guessing. Don’t be surprised to see backup Rex Grossman enter the game if Schaub begins to flame out (physically or mentally). Realize that, at some point this season, Grossman could snatch the starting job. Also, he never had the offensive weapons with the Bears the Texans do with Johnson, Owen Daniels and Slaton.
Defensively, the Texans have to slow down the Oilers' run game and force Kerry Collins to beat them with his arm. Should he slip up, it would be even better if Vince Young enters the game. In order to get the O back on the field and in-sync, the Texans defense must force the Oilers into early three-and-outs.
To be successful this week and get their groove back, the offense must score a touchdown on their first possession and get points (whether seven or three) on at least two more possessions before the half. In order to force the Oilers from their comfort zone and dictate the pace, the Texans' offense will need to score early and often with long drives to help keep their defense off the field.
Two division rivals face off, and only one will walk out of Week Two with their first win of the 2009 NFL season.