The Houston Texans (4-11) will host the Tennessee Titans (10-5) at NRG Stadium to close out the 2020 season Sunday. The Texans will hit the field with Deshaun Watson under center, yet without starting tackles Tytus Howard and Laremy Tunsil. Hmm... this seems, how you say, suboptimal? Let’s hope common sense plays a role in Houston’s strategy Sunday if things look rough early for the franchise QB.
Let’s see how the BRB staff sees Houston’s final game of the season playing out:
Matt Weston: Titans 41, Texans 23.
Derrick Henry is going to run for more than 223 yard and break the 2K mark. The Titans’ defense being as bad as it is is one of the most surprising parts of the 2020 season. That being said, even Deshaun Watson has trouble leading Houston’s offense to more than 23 points.
Carlos: Titans 34, Texans 17.
It’s time to take the horse to the glue factory. The sentiment that the Texans could play spoiler to the Titans is a hopeful one, but fairly unrealistic. Derrick Henry will moonwalk into the end zone a few times and many tackles will be missed.
Speaking of tackle, we may not have the services of Laremy Tunsil on Sunday. One one hand, there will be less false start penalties. On the other, Deshaun Watson might be in serious danger.
The BESFs are going to enjoy this one. All we can do is watch through our fingers as this season is unceremoniously ended and we move forward into a new era. Ideally, one without Jack Easterbunny and anyone who was remotely involved with this season’s disaster. Mike Devlin needs to be shot into the sun.
Kenneth L.: Titans 27, Texans 17.
It’s over, it’s all over. The last game of a meaningless season will end with surprisingly meaningful game. The Titans have yet to secure a playoff spot heading into Week 17. At 10-5, both the Titans and Colts are playing for their playoff lives against AFC South rivals in Houston and Jacksonville.
If the Titans lose and the Colts win, the Titans need two of the Dolphins, Browns, or Ravens to lose. They are sitting in a good position against the Texans, but they’re going to force the issue early.
The Titans were embarrassed by the Green Bay Packers last week 40-14 on SNF and ended a two game winning streak. The game revealed significant holes in the Titans’ defense that had been covered up by a strong pass rush. A.J. Brown was limited to under 50 yards by the Packers’ excellent secondary as well.
The Packers’ defense and offense are superior in every way to the Texans’, and it would be unimaginable for the Texans to repeat their performance. What the Texans are trying to do is play party-crasher to the Titans’ playoff party. A stunning victory over the Titans would be an excellent way to cap off a miserable season. If you recall last year, the Texans lost to the Titans in Week 17, which brought the Titans into the NFL Playoffs. They’d go ahead and make a miraculous run to the AFC Championship Game.
The Texans have the opportunity to squash Tennessee’s dreams of returning to the postseason, but there is little chance that will occur. The Titans will be at full froth. Their offense will command the game and take the lead early.
l4blitzer: Titans 31, Texans 21.
Honestly, when I saw the various NFL playoff scenarios for clinching, I was supremely disappointed that there was no way that if the Texans and Titans tied, it would eliminate the Colts from the playoffs. There is the scenario that the Titans could clinch the AFC South if both Titans/Texans and Colts/Jaguars tied. However, the odds of that happening...I will win back-to-back Powerball games before that ever happens. While there is not much that our respective fanbases would agree with, the idea of screwing over the Colts might be one area where there is bipartisan consensus. Imagine, the teams lining up, three kneels downs and a punt, with fair catches galore. All game, the entire game, all while the Colts play their hearts out, knowing that they could beat Jacksonville by 75, and they would be so screwed, as the inevitable Titans/Texans 0-0 tie is seared into their collective souls. You think the uproar after the 1982 Germany/Austria World Cup match was bad...whooo, the Disgrace at NRG, baby!!!
However, that is not the case. For the Titans, it is simple. Win, and you clinch the AFC South. Derrick Henry is within shouting distance (223 yards) of 2,000 yards. His last two games against the Texans, he is averaging over 211 yards. Given how bad the run D for the Texans is, and the fact that most of the players will likely leave their cars running to leave NRG after the final whistle, him not getting that number would be a huge disappointment. Henry is starting to power up into “Nightmare Playoff Henry Mode”, and Tannehill is playing well. I am far from sold on the Titans’ D, and that will be the inevitable Achilles heel come the later stages of the playoffs. However, the running of Henry and the play-action passing from Tannehill should sufficiently control the game to mitigate whatever damage Watson will wreck on their pass defense.
The Texans could spoil this one, but if they fall behind early like they did earlier this season, I just don’t see the entirety of the Texans rallying to make it a fight. For the Titans, it is in their best interest to get up early and big. For the Texans, this game and season can’t end fast enough. While heart-breaking to possibly see J.J. Watt’s last game for the Texans, this game needs to end quickly, and the team needs to get on to the real game of hiring a GM and HC, and trying to clean up the fallout from the BO’B-Easterby radioactive executive regime.
Mike Bullock: Titans 41, Texans 20.
Ever heard of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object? Well, this is the unstoppable force (Derrick Henry) versus the wet paper bag (Houston’s run defense). Vrabel is going to feed Henry the ball so much the guy might break Adrian Petersen’s NFL record of 296 rushing yards in a single game.
J.J. Watt will have another epic rant afterward, Deshaun Watson will pine for better days to come and hopefully within 24 hours of the loss, Cal McNair will clean house, firing everyone from Jack Easterby to Mike Devlin and back again so the new general manager/head coach combo can have a fresh, unmolested start to make 2021 a better year for Houston fans.
bfMFd: BE-SFs 38, Texans 24.
At long last, this incredibly stupid season is over. For just the right amount of closure, the Baby-Eating Sister-F**kers of Methoptamia will whip us. This is because the Texans have been so horribly mismanaged the past four seasons, and while the BE-SFs were smart enough to can MethMouth and Mike Mularkey, the Texans promoted Bill O’Brien.
Deshaun Watson should not see the field. He will. The only thing, literally the only thing that matters this game comes down to avoiding injuries.
The Texans are a stupid franchise.
Tim: Titans 34, Texans 24.
Just please make it stop.
That’ll do it for the Texans in 2020. It was an incredibly maddening and frustrating year, but at least the rest of the world finally got on board with jettisoning Bill O’Brien - a move that happened long after it should have.
Happy New Year to all of you and thanks for reading the predictions all season long. Enjoy this last morsel of Texans football before the long, sad drought begins.