Back in Action
With many players still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Ike - which brought about an unexpected bye week - the Texans hope to provide the city of Houston a lift on Sunday by going on the road to get their first win and hand the Titans their first loss.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Titans -5 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Titans -5 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
"I think we could be a bright spot for the city," Texans receiver Andre Johnson said. "A lot of people are going through tough times and maybe us going out winning games could make a lot of people around here happy."
No NFL teams were scheduled to be off in Week 2, but the threat of Ike caused Houston's home game against Baltimore to be pushed back a day to Monday before the league was forced to postpone that matchup until Nov. 6. The severe damage caused by the storm included chunks being torn out of the roof at Reliant Stadium, potentially forcing the Texans (0-1) to move their next scheduled home game - Oct. 5 versus Indianapolis - to a different venue.
Many players endured major damage to their homes, possibly the worst being defensive tackle Travis Johnson seeing his house destroyed. A tree crashed into defensive end Mario Williams' home, and a ceiling collapsed in one room of tight end Owen Daniels' house.
"It's really difficult, not just for myself, but for everyone," Williams said Tuesday. "You've got to go work and you've got to make a living. But at the same time you're thinking: 'I hope my place is still all right.'"
The drama surrounding Young has not been nearly as dire, though it also has served as a potential distraction for Tennessee (2-0).
Though Young was not going to play last week anyway due to a knee injury, it was possible he could have returned for this game but coach Jeff Fisher has said he's sticking with Kerry Collins as his starting quarterback for now.
The team has been concerned about the mental well-being of Young, having called police last week to help search for the third overall pick in the 2006 draft after he was booed by the home fans during a Week 1 win over Jacksonville. Whether or not Young is healthy enough to play is unclear, though Fisher feels Collins at quarterback gives the Titans the best chance to win for the foreseeable future.
"We're going to get Vince back, get his knee back, work with him, get him back involved in the offense," Fisher said. "But Kerry's going to go ahead and play for us until either he struggles or whatever else happens."
Collins threw for only 128 yards last Sunday, but completed 14 of 21 passes without a turnover as Tennessee won 24-7 at Cincinnati. Young was 12-of-22 for 110 yards with two interceptions and a fumble in Week 1.
"He's got to get back. He's eventually going to be under center for us," Fisher said. "When that happens, I don't know. For right now, Kerry's our quarterback."
This game's other starting signal-caller is looking to bounce back from a poor opener. Matt Schaub was intercepted twice, lost a fumble and sacked five times in Houston's 38-17 defeat at Pittsburgh on Sept. 7.
The Texans were limited to 234 total yards and went 3-for-10 on third-down conversions.
Their defense was no better, allowing Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger to complete all but one of his pass attempts and letting Willie Parker rush for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
Tennessee's defense, on the other hand, has been exceptional. That unit has given up 202.0 yards per game to lead all teams other than Baltimore, which has played only one game, and is giving up 2.7 yards per rushing attempt to tie Philadelphia for the league lead.
Houston's ground game does not appear to be much of a threat. While rookie Steve Slaton was held to 43 yards on 13 attempts in the opener, Ahman Green was limited to five carries due to an injured ankle and it's unclear if he will play Sunday.
The Titans' rushing attack is in much better shape. Rookie Chris Johnson has rushed for more than 90 yards in each of the first two games while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. LenDale White has been good in short yardage situations and has scored both of the team's rushing touchdowns.
Tennessee has won 10 of 12 all-time meetings between these AFC South foes, including six straight victories since Nov. 28, 2004.
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