Houston Texans (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (0-1)
The Titans had a pretty terrible week 1, not just losing in Miami against the kind of team they should beat, but also having quarterback Marcus Mariota, tight end Delanie Walker, and left tackle Taylor Lewan go down with injuries. Walker is out for the year with a broken ankle, Lewan is out for at least this week with a concussion, and, while Mariota is expected to play, he is at less than 100% with an elbow injury and may rotate with backup Blaine Gabbert, who was predictably horrendous in Mariota’s absence last week.
Not only do I expect Gabbert to struggle if he has to play, but Mariota has never shown the ability to play well while injured in the past. Whoever plays quarterback will also have to deal with the absence of one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league and the absence of arguably the top starting offensive tackle duo in football, as Lewan joins right tackle Jack Conklin on the sidelines, with Conklin still rehabbing from a torn ACL.
All that being said, I am not confident in the Texans as 3 point road favorites in this one. Deshaun Watson did not look like the same quarterback in his return from a torn ACL in the Texans’ week 1 road loss to the Patriots and the Titans have a solid defense, especially with their top-2 draft picks Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry returning after missing week 1 with injury. The Titans have enough pass rush to give this weak Houston offensive line trouble all day and put Deshaun Watson in more tough throwing situations. The Texans should be able to win, but this might not be that easy.
Houston Texans 20 Tennessee Titans 16
Pick against the spread: Houston -3