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Know Your Foe: Tennessee Titans | Week 15


This one may not be completely personal as Marc Vandermeer once noted back in a Titans-Texans contest in 2010.

But, it's pretty darn close.

On Sunday, the Texans will take on the Titans for the first time in 2023 after 13 wild games this season, on both sides of the ledger. The Texans went to New Jersey last week, got beat and were beaten up in a 30-6 loss to the New York Jets.

The Titans, on the other hand, may have found their secret sauce in a miraculous comeback win over the AFC's overall #2 seed Miami in their building. The Titans came from 14 down with less than three minutes to win the game in regulation. The last team to do that was the Texans on Sunday Night Football…in 2016 against the Colts! What the Titans tried to give away early in the fourth quarter, they went and snatched the win from the Dolphins in the last three minutes of the fourth in south Florida.

So, one team found its confidence in a week 14 win (Titans) while the other has some scars from its week 14 loss (Texans). But, when these two teams get together, it's typically a bloodbath. The margin of victory in every game that's mattered since 2019 is as follows.








So, yeah, if the trend holds, hang onto your hats in Nashville as the Titans break out their Oiler uniforms, with plenty of staff/players on that sideline that have Houston ties. This matchup, whew, it's ON! As such, let's get to Know the Texans' Week 15 Foe - The Tennessee Titans


2023 Schedule (5-8)

Week 1 - L @ New Orleans Saints 16-15

Week 2 - W Los Angeles Chargers 27-24

Week 3 - L @ Cleveland Browns 27-3

Week 4 - W Cincinnati Bengals 27-3

Week 5 - L @ Indianapolis Colts 23-16

Week 6 - L Baltimore Ravens 24-16

Week 7 - BYE

Week 8 - W Atlanta Falcons 28-23

Week 9 - L @ Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16

Week 10 - L @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-6

Week 11 - L @ Jacksonville Jaguars 34-14

Week 12 - W Carolina Panthers 17-10

Week 13 - L Indianapolis Colts 31-28

Week 14 - W @ Miami Dolphins 28-27

Week 15 - Houston Texans

Week 16 - Seattle Seahawks

Week 17 - @ Houston Texans

Week 18 - Jacksonville Jaguars

Titans (in 2023 regular season)

Rushing Yards Per game - 106.9 ypg (18th in the NFL)

Passing Yards Per game - 193.7 ypg (24th)

Total offense per game - 300.6 ypg (25th)

Turnovers lost - 17 (9 INT, 8 Fumbles lost)

Expected Titans starting offense for Week 15


RB - Derrick Henry


WR - Treylon Burks

WR - Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

TE - Chig Okonkwo



C - Aaron Brewer


RT - Dillon Radunz 

Other Key Offensive pieces



WR - Kyle Phillips

OL - Corey Levin

Italics - Rookie

ALL CAPS - New to team in 2023

Keys to winning v. the Titans Offense

  1. Ol' Reliable - When Titans future Hall of Fame RB Derrick Henry sprinted 48-yards for a touchdown early in last year's second game, I thought we were going to see another Henry special against the Texans, you know a 200-yard Henry masterpiece. Since the 2019 finale, Henry ran for over 200 yards in every game and that 48-yard TD run seemed to be impetus for a FIFTH straight 200-yard game against the Texans. Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the double century mark - the Texans started plugging gaps, tackled well and finally held Henry in check. Finally. But, 2023 is a new year and with a new OC (Tim Kelly). Henry isn't being used quite as the 25-carry-a-game hammer that he was prior to 2022. However, this might be a Back to the Future moment against the one team that Henry has owned since 2019. The Texans better bring an army to stop him.
  1. Spell Correct, THIS!- Every time that I type Titans QB Will Levis' name into my phone or computer, my device corrects it to Levi's, like I'm headed to the County Seat for a pair of jeans. The Titans QB isn't quite that comfortable, sturdy pair of blue jeans…yet, but he's carving out his niche as a gunslinger with some touch in the passing game and a howitzer of a right arm. Against Miami, he held the ball just long enough on about a half dozen throws, just before being sacked, throwing DIMES for big yards to DeAndre Hopkins and his Titans' pass catchers. Levis has been a little all over the place in his rookie campaign, but the Levis that we saw on Monday Night is as good as any QB the Texans have faced this season. What he also found was confidence…and the Texans have to erode that confidence. How? Great question but the answer can be found in the next key. 
  1. The Left Side Newbies- The Titans knew they had a major issue after the 2022 season with the offensive line. How did we know that to be fact? They signed Daniel Brunskill and Andre Dillard in free agency and then spent a first round pick on Northwestern's Peter Skoronski and a sixth round pick on one of my Draft crushes in last year's draft Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan. While Brunskill holds down the right side guard spot, these two rookies have now taken over on the left side of the Titans OL - Skoronski at LG and Duncan at LT. The Texans need to unleash on those youngsters. DE Jon Greenard must teach Duncan lessons to get to Levis repeatedly and disrupt his passing. Heat on Levis is an absolute MUST and that can be generated from the edge against the raw rookie Duncan.

Titans DEFENSE (in 2023 regular season)

Rushing Yards Allowed Per game - 110.2 ypg (14th in the NFL)

Passing Yards Allowed Per game - 229.1 ypg (22nd)

Total offense Allowed per game - 339.2 ypg (17th)

Turnovers generated - 11 (3 INT, 8 Fumble recoveries - Titans are -6 in TO margin)

Expected Titans starting defense for Week 15


DE - Denico Autry

DT - Jeffery Simmons (injured and not expected to play)

DT - Teair Tart

OLB - Harold Landry III


LB - Jack Gibbens



S - Amani Hooker

CB - Tre Avery

Nickel - Roger McCreary

Other Key Defensive pieces



OLB - Rashad Weaver


Italics - Rookie

ALL CAPS - New to team in 2023

Keys to winning v. the Titans' Defense

  1. He's Back!- Prior to the 2022 season, Titans edge rusher Harold Landry III tore his ACL and missed the entire year just after signing a big extension in Nashville. He was sorely missed but returned in 2023 as good as he's looked in his career. His ability to bend and turn that corner to get to the QB was as evident as it's been in a long time on Monday night in Miami. He scraped that edge a handful of times to rack up a season high 3.0 sacks on the Dolphins. The Texans tackles haven't given up a ton of pressure to edge rushers this year, but Landry III is a different cat off the edge. Laremy Tunsil and company must work Landry III beyond the quarterback and not get beat on quick, twitchy counter moves. If the Texans give up 3.0 sacks to Landry III again, it won't be a fun flight back to Houston.
  1. Underrated- Titans linebackers Azeez Al-Shaair and Jack Gibbens might be the least well known linebacker duo in the NFL. However, the overshadowing is not due to a lack of production or excellence at the position. Watching these two, it's clear how fast, physical and productive they are in all aspects of the Titans defense. Al-Shaair played for DeMeco Ryans in San Francisco and plays a lot like I'd imagine DeMeco wants his linebackers to play - run, hit, play smart. Gibbens is steady and smart and he's not slow to the ball. The Jets LB seemed to make every single play against the run last week against the Texans. These two Titans backers are able to do the same thing and if the Texans can't find a way, or design a way, to get a hat on these LBs at the second level, it's going to be major trouble again.
  1. Attack - We're probably not going to know who's starting at QB for the Texans until the weekend due to the concussion suffered by C.J. Stroud. The Texans star rookie suffered said concussion in the fourth quarter against the Jets and missed Wednesday's practice. So, it's not clear which QB steps under center on Sunday, but whichever QB it is, they have to attack the game, perhaps without two or three of the Texans' key pass catchers. As a result, it's key for that Texans QB to attack the game intelligently. Don't take hits. Take profit and deposit it all in the bank. Take shots in selective situations. Get the WR comfortable and keep them confident throughout the game. The Texans won't win this game with receivers catching four passes for 19 yards like they did against the Jets. They need the QB to keep attacking and delivering all game long against a Titans secondary that had one of its best games last Monday night.

The Houston Texans held practice on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 in preparation for the Week 15 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

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