Julio Jones stands as a force to be reckoned with. Fast. Tough. Explosive. The superstar wide receiver can do it all and then some. Previously hailing from the Atlanta Falcons, the addition of Jones to the Tennessee Titans’ roster in an offseason trade was a huge get for the Titans' offense. Combining Jones’ ability as a wide receiver with Derrick Henry’s superhuman talent as a running back made Tennessee feared by most defenses.
When Henry went down in Week 8 with a potential season-ending foot injury—he had already accounted for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns, mind you—all eyes instantly turned to Jones to pick up where Henry had left off. Since making his debut as a Titan, Jones has accounted for 336 receiving yards on 21 receptions. The wide receiver averages a cool 16 yards per reception. But, like Henry, Jones has now fallen prey to injury (for the second time this season) and is expected to miss, at minimum, the next three games.
Despite the loss of two key offensive pieces, the Titans are still winning. Currently, the team is on track to beat the NFL record of the number of players used in a single season. The Titans have used 82 players in 10 games and the NFL record stands at 84 players. Still, the Titans are on fire. The team has proven to be an impenetrable fortress despite being riddled by injuries all season. Through the past 10 weeks of the season, the Titans have surged to the top of the AFC with a dominating 8-2 record. Coming off six consecutive wins, five of which were against playoff teams from last year, the Titans are the hottest team in the NFL.
This Sunday, the Titans will have the home-field advantage as they face off against the division rival Houston Texans. The Texans have not had an easy go of it this season and will come crawling into this matchup hiding behind a bleak 1-8 record. Nevertheless, the Titans vs. Texans rivalry—currently 21-17 record in favor of the Titans—always begets a good game especially with the Texans coming off two weeks of recovery, rest, and preparation.
Sunday’s competition will create the perfect environment for the Titans to work out some of their kinks on the offensive and defensive ends. The absence of Henry has stunted their run game significantly. Hopefully, against a Texans defense that allows for 136.4 rushing yards per game (currently the second-most in the NFL) as well as 15 rushing touchdowns on the season, they’ll look to utilize the running game more often.
After a long stretch of tough games, the Titans will finish off the remainder of the regular season with the easiest schedule in the league. This will undoubtedly provide them with more than enough time to get ready to take the post-season by storm. Hopefully, by then, with Henry Jones leading the charge.