The Austin Chronicle

Rough Road Ahead for the Texans

By Mark Fagan, September 20, 2008, 5:20pm, The Score

When Ahman Green went down on the first offensive play from scrimmage in the first preseason game (untouched, at that) I knew this was gonna a be tough year for the Texans. Things haven't gotten any better since. Matt Schaub and pretty much every Texan not named Andre, DeMeco, or Mario had a horrible showing in Houston's first-week 38-17 drubbing by the Pittsburgh Steelers; but there was one glimmer of hope in the Texans difficult early schedule with a second-week home game against the seemingly mediocre Baltimore Ravens. Well, thanks to Hurricane Ike that game was postponed and the roof at Reliant has as many holes as the Texans' offensive line.

A win this week against the VY-less Titans on the road can go a long way toward getting the Texans and their fans back on track; or it can leave them at 0-2 without a bye week and with a rough schedule ahead in one of the toughest divisions in football. The Texans backfield is so banged-up that rookie Steve Slaton will be getting the start this week. Slaton is listed as 5 feet, 10 inches, 185 pounds. Can he take the pounding of an every-down running back? Probably not. Can he do enough to set the Texans up for the play-action pass and help Schaub get the ball in the hands of playmaker Andre Johnson? Let's hope so.

My prediction: With Vince Young out the Texans' young and impressive defensive line led by Mario Williams will have a chance to hurt Kerry Collins and hopefully shut down rookie back Chris Johnson. But with the Titans' lock-down D, home-field advantage, and the Texans still reeling from Hurricane Ike, I'm looking for the Titans to cover the spread and beat the Texans by 7.

Here's hoping I'm wrong.

Click here for more of Mike Peterson's Texans photos.

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