Titans defenders are on a mission to keep Texans running back Steve Slaton under the 100-yard rushing mark this Sunday.
Tennessee Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt of the The (Nashville) Tennessean joined Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com for an exclusive interview to preview Sunday's game between the Texans (6-7) and AFC South champion Titans (12-1).
Wyatt has been covering the Titans for The Tennessean since 1999.
Nick Scurfield:What does this Titans team have that it had been lacking in past seasons?
Jim Wyatt:They have an explosive, break-away threat in running back Chris Johnson,*for starters. Also, they're not making mistakes.Vince Young threw 17 interceptions last season.Kerry Collins *has thrown just 6 through 13 games.
* Nick Scurfield: *What is Young's status right now, and who do you think will be the Titans' starting quarterback next season?
Jim Wyatt:A lot of it depends on how Collins finishes. When Jeff Fishersaid Collins will be the team's starting quarterback as long as the team is winning, he didn't put a cap on it. If the team can re-sign Collins this offseason and he finishes well, he could be the starter again next year.
Nick Scurfield:The Texans (-11) and Titans ( 11) are polar opposites in turnover margin. We already discussed why they're protecting the ball better; why have the Titans been so good at forcing turnovers?
Jim Wyatt:They're solid in the secondary, and the pass rush has forced quarterbacks to get rid of the football quickly.
Nick Scurfield:The Titans have seven consecutive wins over the Texans. Do you get any sense that they might be looking past Houston with two difficult games ahead against Pittsburgh and Indianapolis?
Jim Wyatt:Not with home-field advantage still on the line. If the Titans lose, it won't be because they took them lightly or were looking past them.
Nick Scurfield:Steve Slaton is the only player to rush for more than 100 yards against Tennessee this season. What do you think his chances are for a repeat this week?
Jim Wyatt:The Titans defensive players are very well aware of that stat and will do everything possible to keep it from happening again. Linebacker Keith Bullucksaid as much this week. Slaton is a very good back, but Tennessee's run defense has improved in recent weeks and I'll be surprised if he gets 100 again.
Nick Scurfield:Can you describe how valuable Chris Johnsonhas been to the Titans' success this season? He was a heavily criticized pick on draft day.
Jim Wyatt:He has been one of the biggest reasons for the team's success. He's made life easier for Collins and the receivers, and LenDale Whiteas well. Without him, they'd have a few more losses right now.
Nick Scurfield:What's your prediction for the score this Sunday?
Jim Wyatt:Titans 23, Texans 17