The Houston Texans (0-1) travel to Tennessee this weekend to play the Titans (0-1) in a pivotal early season AFC South match-up. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, September 17th at Nissan Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.
Oddsmakers originally had the Texans listed as 2.5-point roadd favorites. The line hasn’t moved at all after early betting, as Houston is currently available at -2.5. The total for this match-up is 45 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 2 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Titans vs Texans Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Houston will look to rebound against Tennessee this weekend after losing 27-20 to the New England Patriots in Week 1. The Texans came out of the gate slowly in New England, but managed to recover nicely in the second half before coming up just short. QB DeShaun Watson certainly looked a bit rusty after sitting out much of last season after needing surgery to repair an injured knee in November. WR DeAndre Hopkins was relatively quiet all game, at least compared to his high standards – he was held until 100 yards despite catching eight passes. RB Lamar Miller led the way on the ground, finishing just shy of a 100 yard afternoon and looking pretty solid throughout.
The Texans looked a little shaky on defense against the Pats as well, mostly due to the fantastic chemistry between Tom Brady and receivers. J.J. Watt looked great in his first game back from an injury that cost him much of the 2017-18 season, which is certainly a very good sign for Houston. The secondary must play much better if they hope to avoid falling to 0-2 against the Titans, as they allowed Brady to pass for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns. TE Rob Gronkowski lit up Houston as well, catching seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Things should get a bit easier for Houston this weekend as Titans QB Marcus Mariota is reportedly dealing with an elbow injury.
Tennessee’s loss in Week 1 probably stung a bit more than usual after the Titans feel to the Dolphins in what turned out to be the longest game in NFL history. Tennessee couldn’t find a way to come back late in the 4th quarter and lost 27-20 in a 7 hour marathon due to several lighting delays. QB Marcus Mariota played surprisingly poorly, although to be fair his struggles were at least partially due to an elbow injury that forced him to leave in the 3rd quarter. Blaine Gabbert looked average at best after replacing Mariota, throwing for 117 yards and one interception on just a 50% completion rate. RB Dion Lewis led the way on the ground, rushing for 75 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
The Titans looked pretty average defensively against the Dolphins, giving up 27 points on over 300 total yards. They also allowed QB Ryan Tannehill to complete over 70% of his passes. However, they did force several turnovers which will be crucial to their success against Houston this weekend. It will be interesting to see how their secondary holds up against DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, both of whom are always a threat to score from anywhere on the field.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Texans -3
I think this is a really good spot for the Texans, despite having to play on the road for the second consecutive week. DeShaun Watson seemed to come alive a bit in the second half against the Patriots, while Marcus Mariota will likely be playing at far less than 100% after injuring his elbow last weekend. The Titans also suffered two other substantial player personnel loses due to injury : TE Delanie Walker is out for the season after being carted off with an ankle injury while top offensive lineman Taylor Lewan is likely out with a concussion. This all adds up to what I consider to be a pretty big edge for Houston.
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Houston has also performed extremely well in Week 2 games over the past decade, going 8-2 ATS over their past ten games. They have also held the hot hand when these two teams meet as of late, as they are 11-3 ATS over their last 14 games against the Titans. Meanwhile, the Titans are just 2-5 ATS over their last 7 games when playing at home against Houston.
I simply have way more confidence in Houston heading into this game, largely because of the vastly different injury situation between the two teams. WR Will Fuller will be back for the Texans this game, which will free up even more room for DeAndre Hopkins. J.J. Watt should be that much stronger in his second game back from injury, while the same is also likely true for DeShaun Watson. Tennessee has to play without its starting tight end, best offensive lineman, and potentially their quarterback as well. While the Titans will likely still put some points on the board on Sunday, especially against a somewhat suspect Houston secondary, I don’t think they will be able to come out on top.
While I expect this game to stay close right down to the wire, I think Houston should be able to eventually ground out the win in an important divisional game. The loser of this match-up will drop to 0-2 on the season, which will likely be almost impossible to come back from. Both teams know this and will likely show up to play on Sunday – I just think Houston is the better play. I’ll take the Texans to cover on the road.