By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Houston Texans right now is, what is the team’s identity? We hear this statement every season regarding one team or another. What constitutes a team identity anyway?
I heard it all day following the Texans loss to the Broncos. The analyst said this team is searching for their identity. Ok, well did they have their identity when they beat the Patriots the week before? I always found this phrase more associated with teams that are young and still working on continuity, not teams 15 weeks into the season.
Houston has far bigger problems then hoping to find an “identity”. They are sitting at 8-5 and tied with a red hot Tennessee Titans team right now. A team who have reeled off 4 straight wins in a row behind new quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Looking ahead to the final 3 games, Houston will travel on the road next week to face Tennessee, followed by another road trip down south to visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Depending on how this all plays out, they could be playing the Titans for the division at home the final game of the season.
The Titans seem to have the more difficult schedule ahead. As noted above, they face the Texans twice and host, most likely by that time, the NFC South division winner New Orleans Saints. The only thing the Titans can do to ensure a division title is to sweep the Texans.
Taking a look at Sunday’s AFC South showdown against the Titans there are some key match-ups to watch. Defensively, the Texans will have to contain Titans running back Derrick Henry, who is 2nd in rushing with 1,243 yards, with a 5 yard per carrying average.
Henry has been a dominating force over the last 4 games for the Titans. And according to Titans writer Jim Wyatt Titans running back, Derrick Henry missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday but said in the locker room before the session he expects to be ready for Sunday. “I’ll be ready to go,” Henry said. “When Sunday comes, I’ll be ready to go.”
Offensively the Texans have found some success behind running backs Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, with both backs carrying a 4 yard per carrying average. It will also be key to keep the pressure off quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has played very well when matched up against the Titans in the past. Watson and the Texans will need to continue this success if they are to secure another AFC South title.
Talk NFL with Lisa on Twitter @LJ1303