The 2-13 Houston Texans travel to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the 6-9 Tennessee Titans in a rematch of their Week 2 game in Houston at Reliant Stadium. The Texans won that game in overtime. It was the last game the Texans won and they fired Coach Gary Kubiak on December 6, 2013 after an 11 game losing streak. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been named the interim head coach.
Both teams have undergone plenty of changes since the Week 2 game. The Texans could also start undrafted free agent quarterback Case Keenum, who took over for Matt Schaub after he threw multiple pick sixes in the weeks following the Titans game. Keenum has been dealing with a thumb injury but is expected to start.
The Texans have a laundry list of other injuries and lost running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate to season ending injuries. They will start fifth string running back Jonathan Grimes against the Titans. Their tight end situation is just as dire since they lost Owen Daniels early on and Garrett Graham is unlikely to play. They also lost stud inside linebacker Brian Cushing early on in the season.
The Titans have had injuries too at the quarterback position since the Week 2 matchup. They placed Jake Locker on injured reserve in Week 11. They signed former Arkansas Razorback and Oakland Raider quarterback Tyler Wilson in Week 15 but he will be the third quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start the season finale. Fitzpatrick is 2-7 as a starter for the Titans this year.
The Titans have other injuries as well and just recently put nickelback Coty Sensabaugh on injured reserve. The Titans played rookie Blidi Wreh-Wilson in Week 16 and he did quite well for his first game. I expect he will continue to play that role and I’m excited to watch him develop. He has shown the ability to play in this league.
The big injury news on defense is the injury to defensive tackle Jurrell Casey who has not practiced all week with a knee injury. He is expected to play but will defensive tackle Mike Martin be active since he is still limited? Martin was inactive a couple of weeks and played sparingly in Week 16 with only 9 snaps. Veteran Mookie Johnson is sure to see a lot of snaps if Casey can’t go.
The final big injury for the Titans is to right tackle David Stewart, who did not play in Week 16. Byron Stingily started in his place and played all 73 offensive snaps. He graded out very well per Pro Football Focus. I am anxious to see him play again as he has done quite well when called upon.
It’s obviously a good thing for the Titans if Stingily grows into that right tackle spot. They still would draft an OT but they need to groom an eventual replacement for Mike Roos as well. Stingily will see a lot of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt who is in serious contention for Defensive Player of the Year. That will be a great matchup to keep an eye upon.
Other interesting Titans players to watch could be the wideout position. Will Kenny Britt be active this week? I suspect not as the Titans continue to look at young wide receivers Michael Preston and Justin Hunter. Hunter in particular needs to get snaps and targets as he continues to develop. The Titans also need to see how Damian Williams has recovered from his quad injury. Williams will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The game will kickoff at noon CST at L.P. Field in Nashville, Tennessee. It will be televised on CBS with Andrew Catalon and Adam Archuleta getting the call. I thought they did a nice job in Week 16 calling the Titans versus Jaguars game. Terry McAulay and his crew will handle the officiating. The game is broadcast live on Titans Radio and Serious XM. The Titans are currently 7 point favorites.
Final score prediction: