The Tennessee Titans are not alone.
Three weeks into the season, in fact, they are one of 15 teams at 1-2. That group comprises nearly half the league and that record is the most common thus far. Of the other 17 NFL franchises, 12 are 2-1, three are 3-0 and two are 0-3.
The good news for the Titans is that they are in a three-way tie for second place in the AFC South. Jacksonville and Indianapolis have the same mark.
The bad news in the wake of their first victory — Sunday’s 44-41 overtime triumph over Detroit — is what comes next.
“We have Houston, which is 3-0, won the division last year is definitely one of the premier powers right now in the league — offensively, defensively and on special teams,” cornerback Alterraun Verner said. “So we can’t rest on this one win. We have a big challenge this week.”
The last time Tennessee won once in the first three weeks was 2005. Their fourth opponent that season was Indianapolis, which at the time was the reigning king of the division. In a matchup at LP Field, the Colts rolled to a 31-10 victory.
The Titans finished that season 4-12. Indianapolis finished a league-best 14-2.
For now, at least, Tennessee is in good company. The other 1-2 teams include two of its first three opponents, New England and Detroit. The Patriots were the AFC champions in 2011, and the Lions were an NFC playoff team.
Houston’s first three opponents all, like the Titans, currently are 1-2.
Still, if the current numbers are any indication, the difference in the standings between Tennessee and Houston will grow significantly by the end of the season. The Texans’ statistics are exemplary in many ways. That certainly is not the case with the Titans.
We’ve been playing some good football teams. Every week we’ve been playing playoff teams. We know Houston is in our division, so we know them. Obviously, they’re 3-0, so they’re one of the better teams that’s off to a great start, and that’s going to be a great football game. We need it to be for us to win.”
A look at other notable numbers related to Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium (noon, CBS):
2 – consecutive 100-yard rushing games by Houston’s Arian Foster. The University of Tennessee product will match his career-long streak if he hits 100 in this game. His only other three game streak came last season and included a 25-carry, 115-yard performance (with two touchdowns) against the Titans.
7 – games since Chris Johnson’s last 100-yard effort. It is the longest such streak of his career and the closest he has come to breaking it was when he gained 61 yards on 15 carries in the 2011 season finale at — you guessed it — Houston.
7 – straight victories by the Texans with Matt Schaub as their starting quarterback. He sustained a season-ending injury last November in a victory at Tampa Bay, which was Houston’s fourth straight at the time. The first of those was a 41-7 rout of the Titans at LP Field. He returned this season and has helped the Texans to their perfect record.
23:18 – Tennessee’s average time of possession, which is last in the NFL. The Titans had the ball barely more than 45 total minutes in their first two games and, because of all the big plays, had it just 27:49 in last Sunday’s overtime contest.
36:34 – Houston’s average time of possession, which is first in the NFL. The Texans held the ball longer than their opponent in each of the three games, including for a whopping 43:17 in Week 2 against Jacksonville.
42 – points allowed by the Texans, fewest in the AFC and third fewest overall in the league. Lest anyone has forgotten, that’s one more than Tennessee allowed last Sunday alone. Houston has held two of its first three opponents to 10 points or fewer.
113 – points allowed by the Titans, the most in the league. Not coincidentally, eight of the 10 most scored-upon defenses are on teams with losing records. It is an average of 37.7 points per game, a pace that translates to 602.7 for the season. The most ever allowed by the Titans/Oilers is 447 in 1973. Last year the Titans allowed 317.