- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Five nuggets of knowledge about Sunday’s games:
Screen passes can be big in Titans-Jaguars: With Tennessee hell bent on stopping runs and getting to David Garrard, the Jaguars are likely to hurt them with at least a few screens with Maurice Jones-Drew getting the ball in some space. The Titans would be wise to mix in some screen themselves on offense. Chris Johnson’s been getting stopped for a lot of losses, and they’d be wise to attempt to get him outside with at least a couple short throws.
The Colts will pass rush OK without Dwight Freeney: Raheem Brock won’t be working against Walter Jones, also expected to miss the game hurt. And the quarterback Brock and his linemates will be chasing isn’t Matt Hasselbeck but Seneca Wallace. The absence of Freeney can hurt more next week in Tennessee, but it shouldn’t have a huge impact here.
Houston’s got all kinds of incentive: A month that they expected to produce a 3-1 record can end at best at 2-2. Oakland’s passing attack is unthreatening, which should allow the Texans to focus on the run as much as necessary to settle down in that department. A year ago the Texans went to Oakland and blew a big chance to get to 8-7 and produced a dud. The Texans recovered well from their Week 1 debacle against the Jets. Can they do the same following a Week 3 disappointment?
The Titans will concentrate on the ground games: This should be a get-back-to-basics scenario where they will try to run and stop the run. The Jaguars are average against the run and the Titans are equipped to emphasize stopping the dangerous Jones-Drew without running too much risk against a middling passing attack. One X-factor that could work in Jacksonville’s favor: more end-around and misdirection stuff keyed around rookie receiver Mike Thomas.
Look for another big moment from Pierre Garcon: The bulk of the balls are going to be aimed at Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. But Peyton Manning has cause for having confidence in Garcon, who made big plays for him in Miami and Arizona. The Colts will want to keep building Garcon as an additional, viable option and I’d expect he’ll have another chance or to for impact plays.