The Houston Texans close out the 2020 regular season with a divisional opponent, as they host Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. While the Texans will not be playing postseason football this year, this Week 17 matchup is important for the Titans. They are one of five 10-5 teams in the AFC, and they can clinch the AFC South with a victory on Sunday. Both teams are coming off embarrassing losses, however, as the Titans were destroyed, 40-14, by the Green Bay Packers, and the Texans were upset by the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, 37-31.
Tennessee was boat raced by Green Bay in the snow on "Sunday Night Football," but the weather certainly did not affect the Packers. Aaron Rodgers completed 21 of 25 passes for 231 yards, four touchdowns and a pick, while Davante Adams caught 11 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. We even saw the arrival of rookie running back AJ Dillon, who rushed for a career-high 124 yards and two touchdowns. Do we have reason to worry about the Titans moving forward? Could they drop this Week 17 matchup and potentially miss the playoffs?
Before we get into the details of Sunday's matchup, let's break down how you can keep up with the action:
How to watch
The Titans lead the all-time series with the Texans 20-17 and have won the past two matchups. In Week 6, Tennessee defeated Houston, 42-36, in overtime. Both Ryan Tannehill and Deshaun Watson threw four passing touchdowns each, while Henry ran for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Much has changed since then, however. The Titans' game plan will still revolve around Henry, as he's a player the Titans want to hitch their wagon to in the postseason -- much like they did last year. He's set to repeat as the NFL's rushing champion this year. This team is looking to establish some momentum for themselves entering the playoffs, and they can accomplish that with a total team win. Keep an eye on the secondary, as they need to rebound after Rodgers dominated them.
While the Texans won't be winning the Super Bowl this year, they can still attempt to spoil the Titans' postseason dreams. Despite the loss last week, Houston's offense put up some pretty impressive numbers. Running back David Johnson had a season-high 139 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns, while wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. If I'm interim head coach Romeo Crennel, I'm looking to dominate the Titans where it hurts, and that's deep down the field.
Tennessee needs to win this game while it holds no meaning for its opponent. The Texans haven't won a game in over a month and are limping towards the finish line. Their loss to the Bengals last week caused All-Pro pass rusher J.J. Watt to unleash a lengthy commentary on players who don't care about winning, while also apologizing to Texans fans for the club's "trash" season. I'm not sure Watt's passionate monologue will fix all of the Texans' problems, so I'll take the Titans this week.
Score: Titans 38-28 over Texans