Houston Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn was just named a 2022 NFL Pro Bowl alternate, along with Texans punter Cameron Johnston. Expect these two men to pad those resumes this week, as the Texans try to figure out how to stop Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans.
Derrick Henry’s dominance has spanned three Texans head coaches and three defensive coordinators.— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) December 22, 2022
As the 1-12-1 Texans veer toward another offseason, ‘How do you stop Derrick Henry?’ is a question Lovie Smith and his defense will want to answer.https://t.co/4YvJoJnw6D
Since Texans head coach Lovie Smith has all the right answers to all the wrong questions, don’t expect any Christmas miracles for Houston fandom in this one.
In fact, the Titans could likely keep their quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, on the bench and just direct snap to Henry all game and win easily.
However, that is a win for Texans fans, even if it is a loss. Going 1-13-1 essentially guarantees the Texans the #1 draft pick. Mathematically, it’s still possible for the Chicago Bears to sneak in there, but highly unlikely at this point. The Bears have unfavorable matchups against the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings ahead, none of which seem winnable. The Texans have upcoming games with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts after this weekend. So, expect the Texans to stay under three wins, while the Bears already have three wins.
While Henry was on the injury report this week, it’s a non-injury related issue, so he’s full steam ahead for yet another 100+ yard outing against Lovie Smith’s defense.
Another factor weighing heavily in the Not-The-Oilers’ favor is weather. The Texans, like most actual Texans, aren’t used to performing at a high level in the bitter cold. Well, this week’s “generational storm” will bring those bitter temps to Nashville for this weekend’s matchup. The Houston players have a hard enough time doing well in a climate controlled dome, much less outside in sub-freezing temperatures with high winds.
The current estimates for the "feels like" temperature at kickoff of some of the outdoor games this Saturday:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 20, 2022
- Bills at Bears: -11°
- Seahawks at Chiefs: -6°
- Saints at Browns: -9°
- Texans at Titans: 5°
- Falcons at Ravens: 7°
- Raiders at Steelers: -4°
Quick Hits: Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans Preview
Titans lead all-time series, 23-18
STREAKS: Titans have won past two
LAST GAME 10/30/22: Titans 17 at Texans 10
LAST GAME AT SITE 11/21/21: Texans 22, Titans 13
Houston Texans Stats
- QB DAVIS MILLS had three touchdowns (two pass, one rushing) vs. zero interceptions with 92.5 rating last week. Has rushing touchdown in two of past three. Has 300+ pass yards in two of his past three on road. Has six touchdowns vs. interception with 96.7 rating in his past four starts vs. division.
- RB ROYCE FREEMAN led team with 51 rushing yards in season debut last week.
- WR BRANDIN COOKS aims for his third in row with 55+ receiving yards. Has four+ catches in five of his six road games this season. Had four catches for 73 yards in Week 8 meeting. Has 70+ receiving yards in two of his three games vs. division this season. Is one of four in NFL (Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins and Travis Kelce) with 500+ receiving yards in each of past nine seasons.
- WR NICO COLLINS has five+ catches in three of his past four.
- WR CHRIS MOORE aims for fourth in row with 40+ receiving yards. Has 70+ receiving yards in two of his past three on road. Needs 20 receiving yards for first-career season with 500+ receiving yards.
- TE JORDAN AKINS had third touchdown catch of season last week.
- TE TEAGAN QUITORIANO (rookie) had second reception touchdown of season in Week 15.
- S JALEN PITRE can become first rookie since 2000 with 12+ tackles in four straight games. Has pass deflection in three of past four games. Leads all rookies with 117 tackles and is third Texans rookie ever with 100+ tackles.
- CB TREMON SMITH had career-best 11 tackles with tackle for loss, pass deflection and third forced fumble of season last week. Aims for third in row with pass deflection. Has forced fumble in two of three games vs. division in 2022.
- LB CHRISTIAN HARRIS (rookie) set career highs in tackles (14) and tackle for loss (three) last week. Aims for fourth in row with five+ tackles. Has pass deflection in two of his past three on road.
- LB CHRISTIAN KIRKSEY had 11 tackles and sack last week. Aims for eighth in row with seven+ tackles and third in row with 10+ tackles. Has tackle for loss in four of past five.
Tennessee Titans Stats
- QB RYAN TANNEHILL completed 15 of 22 attempts (68.2 pct.) for 165 yards and had rushing touchdown last week. Has 90+ rating in five of his past 6. Has zero interceptions in three of his past four at home. Had four touchdowns vs. zero interceptions with 138.9 rating in his last start vs. Houston (1/9/22). Has 111.7 rating in his past seven starts vs. Houston. Is 12-3 over his past 15 starts vs. division.
- RB DERRICK HENRY had 163 scrimmage yards (104 rushing, 59 receiving) and 12th rushing touchdown of season last week, his 18th-career game with 150+ scrimmage yards and touchdown, most in NFL since 2011. Aims for third in row with 150+ scrimmage yards and rushing touchdown. Has 115+ scrimmage yards in four of past five. Has 200+ scrimmage yards and 2+ rushing touchdowns in each of his past four games vs. Houston and is first player ever with 150+ rushing yards in four straight games vs. single opponent. Has 668 scrimmage yards (167 per game) and four rushing touchdowns in four games vs. division this season. Ranks second in NFL with 1,303 rushing yards in 2022.
- WR ROBERT WOODS has touchdown catch in three of his past four vs. Houston.
- WR NICK WESTBROOK-IKHINE has receiving touchdown in 2 of his past three at home. Had career-high seven catches for 107 yards in last home meeting.
- TE CHIGOZIEM OKONKWO (rookie) aims for fourth in row with 45+ receiving yards.
- DT JEFFERY SIMMONS had six tackles and sack last week. Has pass deflection in two of past three. Had sack in Week 8 meeting and aims for third in row vs. Houston with sack.
- DE DEMARCUS WALKER had five tackles and season-high two sacks in Week 15. Aims for third in row with tackle for loss. Had sack in Week 8 meeting and has sack in 2 of past three vs. Houston.
- LB BUD DUPREE has tackle for loss in three of four home games this season. Had sack in Week 8 meeting.
- S KEVIN BYARD had five tackles and second interception of season last week. Aims for third in row with pass deflection.
- CB JOSHUA KALU had first-career interception in Week 15.
Quick Hits Prediction:
As clearly displayed in the last handful of games against the BESFs, the current Texans have no answers for former Houston defensive coordinator turned Not-The-Oilers head coach Mike Vrabel. And it doesn’t appear Lovie’s defense could stop Derrick Henry if they were allowed to have 22 defenders on the field for every play.
Houston Texans: 9
Tennessee Titans: 31