GameDay Preview | HoustonProFootball.com
2002 Record: (4-4) 11.10.02 | 12pm
November 8, 2002
This Bud’s Not For Us
by Jimmy Mohr
The Texans visit Nashville this Sunday to play the Tennessee Titans, the NFL franchise formerly known as the Houston Oilers. While it has been six long years since the Oilers skipped town, Sunday’s game will still be different than the others this season. The hated owner, Bud Adams, still owns the team and even a few players still remain from the Houston days. The difficult aspect of this game will be the memories that linger from the 37 years the Oilers toyed with the emotions of Houstonians.
The Titans are three seasons removed from its one and only Super Bowl appearance, but have struggled to return to championship form. They failed to make the playoffs last year and began this season 1-4 before winning three straight games to move into a tie with the Colts atop the AFC South. The main reason for the resurgence is the play of former Oiler Eddie George, who has averaged 104 yards per game over the last three weeks. This week, the pressure will be even more on his shoulders with QB Steve McNair suffering from turf toe. He is expected to play Sunday, but his mobility will be severely limited. If the Texans defense shows up this Sunday and stops Eddie, the game could be close until the end.
The Texans are lingering in the cellar two games behind the Titans and Colts. The Texans blew a chance to play for first place this week when the winless Bengals wiped the floor of Reliant Stadium with them. Dom Capers‘ team appeared grossly illprepared and uninspired, even after the Bengals guaranteed a victory. A repeated lack of effort against the Titans could result in a worse debacle than last week.
David Carr returned to his rookie roots by tossing a pair of interceptions, his first picks in three games. This week he faces a Titans defense that runs the "46" defense similar to the Bills. Hopefully, this will prove to be beneficial on Sunday.
When the Texans have the ball…
In an attempt to setup the passing game, the Texans continue to stress the run, using Jonathan Wells and James Allen. OL Ryan Schau is out for the season, meaning rookie Fred Weary returns to the starting lineup this week. Carr and his receivers had poor games against the Bengals, so look for them to come out of the gates firing. The offense was embarrassed last week by one of the worst defenses in the league, so this week against the Titans should give the young players a chance to show how much they’ve really improved.
When the Titans have the ball…
The Titans give the ball to Eddie an average of 20 times per game. That amount reaches almost 30 attempts when they have a lead. The success of Eddie will dictate whether or not the Texans stay in the game. McNair is struggling with turf toe, so he will not be a factor on the ground. Derrick Mason, not Frank Wychek, leads the team in receptions, averaging 14.2 yards per catch. Aside from Eddie, look for the Titans to look to Mason for the big play.
1. Show up prepared, ready to play
The Bengals looked like Super Bowl contenders last week in Houston. The Texans’ first two drives were the only signs of life the offense showed all game. On the other side of the ball, the defense looked as if it was participating in a walkthrough the day before a game. Why didn’t Dom Capers have these guys fired up after a winless opponent talked trash all week? The Titans’ game will give us a good idea how much pride the Texans have.
2. Stop Eddie
The Titans offense depends on Eddie to carry the load. Their lack of success the past two seasons can be attributed to his injuries and overall lack of production. He has returned to form the past few weeks, so the Texans’ 3-4 had better be prepared. McNair won’t be a threat to run this week with a bad toe. The focus should be on George and forcing McNair to use his arm. McNair is efficient (65.3 completion %) but the Titans offense is geared to ball control, not coming back from behind.
3. Get the offense jumpstarted
It’s a lot to ask a young offense, but they have looked better than they did last week. The Jaguars game was arguably their best performance of the year; the Bengals game one week later was their worst. Young players will be inconsistent, but veterans like Corey Bradford and James Allen have to step up and lead when times are tough. If Carr can bounce back with a quality game (dependent on his receivers catching the damn ball), he will further solidify his position as the true leader of this offense. Carr
David Carr vs. Steve McNair
In Houston, everyone loved McNair and his potential; today they love Carr and his potential. The battle of Houston’s first round QBs will hopefully one day even out as Carr’s career progresses, but Sunday will be the first game, so McNair to be up for it.
Houston vs. Nashville
Nashville stole Houston’s team. Even worse, the Titans fans were able to enjoy a Super Bowl appearance after only three mediocre seasons in Nashville. After 37 seasons in Houston, all Oiler fans had to show for their troubles were zero Super Bowl appearances, countless heartbreaking playoff losses, the greatness of Hugh Campbell and a vacant stadium. So this game is personal; a victory Sunday would stick it right up the ass of every Titan fan and especially the portly Bud Adams.
Texan Fans vs. Old Oiler fans
The line has now, officially, been drawn in the sand: you’re either with us, or you’re not; this is the defining week. If you don’t jump back on the Houston bandwagon now, don’t expect a free pass in 2 to 3 years when the Texans are up and the Titans are down. HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
The new guys put up a good fight but get overwhelmed at the point of attack. Titans 22, Texans 13
Dave: A week ago, I’d have sworn the Texans take this one. Not after the Cincy debacle. Titans 24, Texans 16
Jimmy: Bud chokes on a turkey leg in the third quarter, the Titans never recover. Texans 21, Titans 20
Keith: Texans will have to try and catch the former Oilers on the flip side. Titans 27, Texans 17
Ric: I still have an odd Bengal taste in my mouth. Titans 28, Texans 6
Warren: The much-hoped-for win over Bud will have to wait. Titans 31, Texans 18
2002 Regular Season Records Bob 4-4; Dave 3-5; Jimmy 4-4; Keith 6-2;
Ric 5-3; Warren 3-5
TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr 207 107 1387 7/8 TEAM 209 109 1431 9/8 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Allen 90 324 3.6 0 TEAM 220 792 3.6 2 REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 26 497 19.1 5 TEAM 109 1431 13.1 9 TITANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT McNair 262 171 1768 13/9 TEAM 267 174 1801 13/9 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD George 155 535 3.4 4 TEAM 214 754 3.5 6 REC NO YDS AVG TD Mason 35 496 14.2 2 TEAM 174 1801 10.4 13 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review