Carlos Hyde will be the biggest X-Factor for the Texans against the Titans
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Carlos Hyde will be the biggest X-Factor for the Texans against the Titans

Carlos Hyde, Texans

Throughout the 2018 offseason, there was quite a bit of talk around the Houston Texans. First, coach/general manager Bill O’Brien made one of the biggest trades of the offseason when he acquired left tackle Laremy Tunsil. The very next day, O’Brien shipped off defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks. An offseason addition that didn’t garner nearly as much attention was Houston’s trade for Carlos Hyde. Hyde was shipped over from the Kansas City Chiefs for pocket change and has made a real impact on the Texans’ offense all year long. That trend will stay the same in week 15 when the Texans face the division rival Tennessee Titans in a crucial matchup.

One thing that stands out about the Titans’ defense is their excellence against the run. Based solely on that, one may not think that Hyde would have much of an impact on the game, especially when considering some of the struggles Houston has had running the ball. But keeping a defense honest is a hugely important part of keeping an offense running. The Texans utilize a subpar offensive line that allows three sacks per game. Tennessee fields a strong pass-rush, led by second-year linebacker Harold Landry. In order to mask their deficiency in pass-blocking, Hyde will have to have a strong day on the ground. If Hyde can hit his season average of 4.7 yards per carry and present a legitimate threat on the ground, he’ll be a huge help to his team.

An area that is often overlooked when it comes to Hyde is his receiving ability. It’s overlooked mostly because it almost doesn’t exist. The Texans know that, so Hyde typically comes off the field on third downs in favor of pass-catching back Duke Johnson. It’s become a huge tell for the Houston offense, as opposing defenses can typically diagnose the play-call based off of personnel. The Titans have been mostly excellent against receiving backs, making Johnson an even less valuable part of the offense. In order to get some kind of aerial production from the running backs, Hyde will be the one the Texans look to. Hyde has shown flashes of capable receiving play but doesn’t have enough opportunity to shine in the role. Houston should look to him as a tendency breaker that can keep the Titans off-balance all game long.

Despite the Texan offense being chock full of great offensive options, Hyde is one of the most important pieces for this upcoming contest. With a consistent showing from him in both phases of the offense, Houston could be primed for a huge win.