Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Tennessee Titans (3-6 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (5-4 SU, 5-3-1
ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Week 11 Monday Night Football, November 23, 2009, Reliant Stadium,
Houston, Texas, TV: ESPN

by Badger of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Titans +4.5/Texans -4.5
Over/Under: 48

The streaking Tennessee Titans will try and make it four in a row when they travel to Houston to take on the rival Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium on Monday Night Football this week, in an important AFC South Division matchup that will determine if the Texans can stay in the AFC playoff picture in the second half.

The Titans enter the primetime affair on a three-game win streak that
includes last weeks 41-17 thumping of Buffalo, a victory that
prompted the ole two-middle-finger salute from Titans owner Bud
Adams from his luxury box. Adams antics will cost him, but he should
be commended for speaking out about quarterback Vince Young, because
the Titans are 3-0 since Adams called for him to be the starter in
an already lost 0-6 season.

But while the Titans are playing for pride and starting positions, the Texans enter Monday Nights big show with its playoff position
and head coach Gary Kubiaks job on the line the final seven weeks of
the season. Houston is coming off of their bye week, and a
disappointing but encouraging three-point loss to the undefeated
Indianapolis Colts the week before, so anything less than this teams
100-percent effort and focus is expected out of Kubiak and the
Texans, or else.

There has been a little line movement in this game early in the week as the oddsmakers in Las Vegas adjusted the point spread to the early action at the window. The Texans originally opened the game as 3.5-
point favorites at home in Reliant Stadium, but the line moved a full
point rather quickly as most sportsbooks now list the game at Houston
minus -4.5. There are even a few offshore sportsbooks all the way up
to Texans -5 already.

Unlike the point spread, the over/under total for Mondays game has
hardly budged all week opening at 48 and still sitting right there at
most sportsbooks with a scant few 48.5s.

Its very hard to pin all of the Titans success on offense to the
switch at quarterback from Kerry Collins to Young, but the added
running threat with Young under center has helped to open things up
for Chris Johnson.

Johnson has run for 495 yards and six touchdowns since Young took
over, and hes taken on an increased role in the passing game too as
more screens and check downs are used to keep the pressure off of
Young trying to do too much. Johnsons emergence as the Titans
franchise back has helped Young put up solid numbers (507 yards, 65
comp.%, 2TD-2INT) during the three-game streak.

The Texans offense is based around quarterback Matt Schaub and the
passing game, which is why the Texans are 3rd in the NFL in passing yards
per game at 283.7. With tight end Owen Daniels gone for the rest of the
season Schaub will be even more dependent on Andre Johnson
outside, plus the return of Kevin Walter to health in the slot.

The problem for the Texans on offense is that they often become too
reliant on the passing game, which is why the running game suffers
(28th 91.2 ypg). Steve Slaton has had fumbling issues, which is why
Ryan Moats has emerged as the go-to back late in games.

The good thing for the Texans offense is that they might not have to
establish the run this week, since the Titans defense is ranked 30th
overall and 31st versus the pass (270.4 ypg), this one on paper looks
like a blatant mismatch. Corner Cortland Finnegan has returned to the
lineup recently, so the secondary is getting healthy and better as
the season goes on.

Houstons defense has struggled at times as well, ranking 15th in scoring
(20.9 ppg) and 17th overall (332.1 ypg). Rookie Brian Cushing
is becoming a playmaker at linebacker, which could mean better days ahead
for end Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans and crew.

Houston stole a 34-31 victory at Tennessee earlier this year, back on
September 20th (week 2). That win was only the Texans second win in
the head-to-head series dating all the way back to 2005, as the
Titans had rattled off seven straight wins prior to the last two
games. Tennessee also holds a 5-2 ATS edge in their last seven,
including a 3-0 SU and 3-0 ATS record on the road at Reliant Stadium.

The over bet has also been riding a solid betting trend of late,
going 8-2 in the last 10 games head-to-head and 3-1 in the last four
games at Reliant.

Badgers Pick: With V.Y. back in the State of Texas as the Titans starter Im expecting some big offense from him and his backfield
mate Johnson for Tennessee. But Schaub and the Texans will have no
trouble staying with them shootout style. Take the over 48.