Titans at Texans Preview

Tennessee Titans (2-9)
Houston Texans (5-6)
NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Sunday, November 30, 12:00 PM on CBS

This is the second time these two teams have faced each other this season with the Texans winning the first game at LP Field 30-16. The last time the Titans won in Houston was on January 1, 2012 when the Titans beat the Texans 23-22 during Mike Munchak’s first year as head coach (the Titans went 9-7 that year). We bring you our Titans at Texans preview.

The Titans and the Texans have faced each other 25 times with the Titans owning the series at 15 games. They do well against the Texans at home having won 8 out of 13 home matchups. The Texans are gradually whittling away at that dominance courtesy a 3-2 split against the Titans in the past five seasons. The Titans obviously have the Houston connection with the Texans since they were formally the Houston Oilers.

Over the past few years the Titans have been splitting the series with the Texans with the exception of 2012 when they got swept in the series. This could be the year where the Titans see another sweep due to the team not being very good to begin with and suffering several season ending injuries to boot.

To date the Titans have lost Michael Roos, Taylor Thompson, Craig Stevens, and Brian Schwenke to season ending injuries on offense. Now Lewan and Oher are almost surely going to miss some time. The Titans pass protection hadn’t been good anyway and the injuries are certainly not going to help matters.

Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a tendency to hold onto the ball and took 5 sacks against the Eagles. On the year, he has taken 12 sacks (in five games) for a loss of 91 yards. This could get worse behind a makeshift offensive line dealing with injuries. He has to get rid of the ball faster. He has the ability to shift in the pocket and move up to avoid pressure he just needs to do it more consistently.

Titans Tex compNeither of these teams are playoff bound and the changes in the rankings between Week 8 and Week 13 are rather striking. For the Titans of course the opponent passing ranking remains skewed because teams so easily run the ball against them.

Week 8 rankings

Titans rankings Texans rankingsWeek 13 rankings

Texans rankings Titans rankingsThe Titans run defense has dropped 10 spots since the Texans last saw them. In that game, Arian Foster finished with 20 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a long run of 43 yards and added 22 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Those stats are made rather worse when you consider he left the game early in the 4th quarter.

Titans Texans drive chart

The first Texans game was Mettenberger’s first start and he has definitely shown signs of improvement. Unfortunately, the current state of the offensive line casts doubt over how much improvement we might see on offense compared to the last game. Given the shabby state of the run game I suspect not much if any.

In addition to the injuries on offense, the Titans are thin at linebacker and safety Michael Griffin is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury. Outside linebacker Kam Wimbley has a hamstring injury and is out for Sunday. As we noted in our recap of the Philadelphia game it’s unlikely he will play anymore this season. Quentin Groves could get the start and rotate with Kaelin Burnett who the Titans just signed.

The Titans are thin at linebacker because they Titans released veteran Shaun Phillips in a strangely timed move. They also traded Akeem Ayers to the New England Patriots in a move that many questioned. They lost Zach Brown in Week 1 to a pectoral injury. Colin McCarthy is also on injured reserve.

The Texans have suffered some injuries of their own. Kareem Jackson and Jadaveon Clowney were declared out today and they just placed quarterback Ryan Mallett on injured reserve. The full injury report below:

TENNESSEE TITANS INJURIES
Player
Position
Injury
Practice Status
Game Status
Kamerion Wimbley LB Hamstring Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Dexter McCluster RB Concussion Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Leon Washington RB Hamstring Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Blidi Wreh-Wilson CB Back Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Michael Griffin S Shoulder Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Taylor Lewan T Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Michael Oher T Toe Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Marqueston Huff CB Hamstring Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
HOUSTON TEXANS INJURIES
Player
Position
Injury
Practice Status
Game Status
Jadeveon Clowney LB Knee Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Kareem Jackson CB Knee Did Not Participate In Practice Out
Max Bullough LB Hamstring Full Participation in Practice Probable
John Clabo T Foot Full Participation in Practice Probable
Andre Johnson WR Not Injury Related Full Participation in Practice Probable
Kendrick Lewis S Knee Full Participation in Practice Probable
Mike Mohamed LB Hip Full Participation in Practice Probable
Darryl Morris CB Thigh Full Participation in Practice Probable
Jeff Tarpinian LB Knee Full Participation in Practice Probable
Brian Cushing LB Knee Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Arian Foster RB Groin Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Johnathan Joseph CB Knee Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Ryan Pickett DT Back Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Dayario Swearinger S Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Probable
Akeem Dent LB Neck Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable

Former Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start once again against the Titans. Fitzpatrick was a cool 19 of 35 for 227 yards and a touchdown in the Week 8 game. He added four rushes for 12 yards. Fitzpatrick played mistake free in the first game between the two teams. Can he maintain that streak?

offense

The Titans are on a five game losing streak and desperately need to get on a run to get some momentum going into the offseason. While there are bound to be a bunch of changes on the roster, losing is demoralizing to an athlete. The sweet taste of victory is much better than the bitterness of defeat. The Titans have 5 games remaining on their schedule. Two of those are on the road and the remaining three are at home.

A win Sunday would help set the tone for those final games.

Other game notes:

Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon will be the broadcast crew for the game. Jeff Triplette and his crew will officiate game. The game time weather is expected to be partly cloudy and a high of 74 degrees. The roof at NRG should be open.

Vegas currently has the Texans favored by a touchdown. The Tennessee Titans are just 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 road games against AFC South opponents per Odd Shark. Conversely, However Houston is 0-4 ATS in its last four divisional home games per Odd Shark.

Final score prediction:

Titans 21

Texans 31

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