Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans: Storylines, prediction for a potentially one-sided AFC South encounter

What are the top storylines and NFL odds for this Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans matchup, and what is our prediction for the game?

While a prediction for this Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans matchup seems simple on the surface, could there be more to this game than meets the eye? Let’s take a look at the main storylines, the current NFL odds, and make a prediction for this Texans at Titans matchup in Week 11.

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans Prediction | Storylines to watch in Week 11

The concept of an NFL team potentially overlooking any game always sends shivers down the spine. That is exactly the case this week as the Titans and Texans face off in Tennessee. The Titans have a matchup on the schedule in Week 12 with the New England Patriots.

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That is starting to look like a game that could have huge ramifications on the AFC playoff picture. If the Titans were to win the next two, they could cruise into their bye week at 10-2, with what appears to be a relatively simple final five games. However, that bye week is a long way off, and the Texans will look to punish the Titans if they glimpse too far into the future.

Can the Titans get their running game back on track?

After only posting 86 rushing yards in Week 1, the Titans went on a run of six straight games with over 100 yards. Yet, since Derrick Henry suffered an injury in Week 8, the Titans have not managed a 100-yard rushing game.

Granted, they didn’t need the running game in Week 9 against the Rams. Still, last week, they struggled to put the Saints away without a reliable ground game to lean on. The problem is that Henry’s physicality and skill were hiding concerns around the offensive line. Now with Adrian Peterson and D’Onta Foreman behind them, the situation looks very different.

Will Tennessee overcome their concerns at WR?

When the Titans traded for Julio Jones and added Josh Reynolds this past offseason, their WR room looked like one of the best entering 2021. However, heading into Week 11, Jones is on injured reserve, and Reynolds requested his release and is now on the Lions.

The only receiver left from their trio is A.J. Brown, who is the only WR with more than 40 targets on the team. Brown has struggled with a 59.4% catch rate but has scored 3 touchdowns.

The question now is who will step up and fill the void. Marcus Johnson had a good outing in Week 10, posting 100 receiving yards on 5 catches. Chester Rogers is the primary punt returner but has had just 1 target per game since Week 5. Lastly, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine has flashed in moments but has just 4 receptions for 40 yards in the past three games.

With their run game struggling, the Titans need a spark in the passing game. Jeremey McNichols has already been ruled out with a concussion, so two of the Titans’ three target leaders are now absent. If there as a game to be short-handed, it is against the Texans. Still, the last time Tennessee dealt with a limited receiving corps was in Week 4 when they lost to the Jets.

Tyrod Taylor needs to look better after an extra week off

After a strong start to the 2021 campaign, Tyrod Taylor had a rough return against the Dolphins in Week 9. He threw 3 interceptions on 43 passing attempts and averaged just 5.58 yards per attempt. He looked like a shell of the QB we saw in Weeks 1 and 2.

Taylor’s performance almost made it feel like he had been rushed back. Yet, now he is another two weeks into his recovery and should be as close to 100% as he can possibly be. Taylor is an elusive QB, which he will need to be against a Titans pass rush that has had success in 2021. If Taylor can play to his full capabilities, he gives the Texans a slight chance. If he is limited, this game could get ugly.

Texans at Titans betting line and game prediction

There is no real surprise that the Titans are 10-point favorites. Houston is 1-8, while Tennessee is 8-2. Additionally, teams coming off a bye have looked sluggish, with a 7-9 record this year. All of this would suggest that the Titans should win this game with relative ease.

Covering 10 points is a lot for a team with as many offensive problems as the Titans have right now. It is hard to see them cruising past 30 points without a big intervention from their defense. If Taylor is close to 100%, he should be able to get the Texans into the 20-point range. There are a lot of ifs about this game, and for that reason, it is hard to back Tennessee to cover.

Texans vs. Titans prediction: Titans 27, Texans 20

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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