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Quick Hits: Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans Preview

Texans need to channel their inner Andre Johnson on the Titans inner Cortland Finnegan.

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

How better for the Houston Texans to honor the great Andre Johnson on this weekend than to defeat the Tennessee Titans? DraftKings Sportsbook has the Texans as 5-point favorites in the last game of the year.

For those who came in late:

What does this have to do with a game preview? Well, every team needs that little bit of extra motivation sauce. The BESFs have nothing to play for other than trying to upset a division rival. The Texans have a playoff spot on the line and Andre’s potential Hall of Fame nod to honor.

Not to mention head coach DeMeco Ryan’s streak:

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10 NFL teams enter this week better than they were the year before, already compiling more wins than they had in all of 2022.

In fact, seven of the AFC’s 16 teams have already improved their win totals compared to last season.

One of those seven is the league’s most-improved team, HOUSTON (8-7) and rookie head coach DEMECO RYANS, who takes the Texans to TENNESSEE (5-10) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX). The Texans, who already have won a league-best five more games than in 2022, control their own destiny in pursuit of a playoff berth, which would be their first since 2019.

In 18 of the prior 20 seasons, at least one team has won its division the year after finishing last or tied for last. Houston could join that worst-to-first group this season.

In other potential blast-from-the-past news, defensive back Kareem Jackson is once again a member of the Houston Texans.

Can Jackson bring more leadership to the young defensive secondary? Can he remind them of the days when the Texans defense was fearsome and unrelenting?

In the meantime, what matters most is the (possible) return of the current hope of the franchise, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. With Stroud in the game, the BESFs are likely toast. Without Stroud, this is anyone’s matchup.

Since the injury report allegedly only exists to aid bettors, maybe hold your cards til the announcement on Stroud’s playing status is officially made.


QB C.J. STROUD (rookie) has zero INTs in each of his past three & 105+ rating in two of his past three. Has 17 TDs (16 pass, one rush) vs. four INTs with 109.0 rating in seven home starts. Has 968 pass yards (322.7 per game) & seven TDs (six pass, one rush) vs. zero INTs with 111.5 rating in three starts vs. division. Needs 171 pass yards to surpass Mac Jones (3,801 in 2021) for fifth-most pass yards by rookie in NFL history.

QB CASE KEENUM completed 11 of 17 atts. (64.7 pct.) last week. Passed for 229 yards in Week 15 meeting.

QB DAVIS MILLS passed for two TDs vs. zero INTs last week.

RB DEVIN SINGLETARY aims for fourth in row with 60+ scrimmage yards. Had career-high 170 scrimmage yards (121 rush, 49 receiving) in Week 15 meeting. Needs 60 scrimmage yards for third-straight 1,000-yard season.

RB DAMEON PIERCE had 98-yard KR-TD last week, first-career return-TD. Houston is only team this season with two KR-TDs.

FB ANDREW BECK had first TD catch of season last week.

WR NICO COLLINS had career-high seventh receiving TD of season last week & has receiving TD in three of past four. Has 100+ receiving yards & receiving TD in two of three games vs. division this season.

WR NOAH BROWN had eight catches for 82 yards & TD in Week 15 meeting. Has career-high 559 receiving yards this season.

TE DALTON SCHULTZ aims for third in row with 55+ receiving yards.

CB DESMOND KING led team with 11 tackles & had two TFL & PD last week. Aims for third in row with 11+ tackles & 2+ TFL.

CB DEREK STINGLEY had two PD & fifth INT of season last week. Aims for third in row with 2+ PD. Has INT in each of past four at home.

S DEANDRE HOUSTON-CARSON had six tackles, TFL & second INT of season last week. Has PD in three of his past four at home.

DE JERRY HUGHES had second sack of season in Week 16.

Over in “maybe we should have worn the old Canton Bulldogs uniforms instead” camp, the Titans have nothing much to play for and should consider jockeying for the draft picks at this stage. However, head coach Mike Vrabel isn’t a man to shrink from a challenge and likely wants some payback this weekend.

Whether or not he gets it remains to be seen.


QB WILL LEVIS (rookie) completed 17 of 26 atts. (65.4 pct.) for 199 yards & had first-career rush TD in Week 15 meeting. Has zero INTs in two of three games vs. division.

QB RYAN TANNEHILL completed 18 of 26 atts. (69.2 pct.) last week in first start since Week 6. Had four TDs vs. zero INTs with 138.9 rating in his last start vs. Houston (1/9/22).

RB DERRICK HENRY rushed for 88 yards & 11th TD of season in Week 16. Has rush TD in four of past five & ties for NFL lead with seven rush TDs since Week 12. Has 1,027 rush yards (171.2 per game) & 10 rush TDs in his past six vs. Houston, with 125+ rush yards & rush TD in five of six games. Needs 28 rush yards for fifth-career season with 1,000+ rush yards. Is third player ever with 10+ rush TDs in six straight seasons.

RB TYJAE SPEARS (rookie) had 67 scrimmage yards (40 rush, 27 receiving) & five catches last week. Has 65+ scrimmage yards in three of past four. Ranks third among rookies RBs with 45 catches & fifth with 743 scrimmage yards (428 rush, 315 receiving).

WR DEANDRE HOPKINS aims for his third in row on road with 50+ receiving yards & TD catch. Needs 61 receiving yards for seventh-career 1,000-yard season. Spent first seven seasons of career with Houston (2013-19) & ranks second in Houston franchise history in catches (632), receiving yards (8,602) & receiving TDs (54).

TE CHIGOZIEM OKONKWO set season highs in catches (six) & receiving yards (63) & had first TD catch of season last week.

DE DENICO AUTRY has 0.5+ sacks in four of past five. Had two sacks in Week 15 meeting & aims for his third in row vs. Houston with sack.

LB HAROLD LANDRY had two TFL & sack last week & has 0.5+ sacks in three of past four.

LB AZEEZ AL-SHAAIR aims for sixth in row with 8+ tackles & third in row with 2+ TFL. Had 13 tackles & two TFL in Week 15 meeting.

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