The NFL week 12 wraps up Monday as the Titans and Texans face off in an AFC South divisional matchup. The Titans lead the all time series 18-15, and have won 3 of the last 4 matchups including a 20-17 win earlier this season.
The Titans are coming off a 38-10 beatdown at the hands of the Colts last week. In week 9 they beat the Cowboys 28-14, and beat the Patriots 34-10 in week 10.
The Texans defeated the Redskins 23-21 last week in a nailbiter after their bye week. In week 8, they beat the Dolphins 42-23, and beat the Broncos 19-17 in week 9.
Bovada has the Texans as 6.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 41.5
The Titans have been streaky this season, winning 3 at one point, then losing 3, then winning 2 before losing last week. Over the last few weeks, Marcus Mariota looked much better than the early season and started to find his groove as a passer before getting reinjured last week. On the year, Mariota has 1583 passing yards, 7 TDs, 6 INTs, is averaging 7.3 YPA, and is completing 67.6% of his passes. Corey Davis was benefitting from Mariota’s better play, and leads the team with 45 catches for 606 yards and 2 TDs. Dion Lewis (122 carries/ 420 yards/ 1 TD), Derrick Henry (110 carries/ 404 yards/ 4 TDs), and Marcus Mariota (47 carries/ 255 yards/ 2 TDs) all represent threats in the run game, although just 92 of Mariota’s 255 yards have come on designed runs.
The Titans defense has been very good this year, allowing just 19.8 PPG (2nd). They are allowing just 234.9 yards per game and 14 TDs through the air this year, but are below average in sacks with 23. The Titans run D is ranked 10th, allowing 100 yards per game and 6 TDs. The Titans have force just 9 turnovers on the year, and own a -3 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
QB Marcus Mariota (neck) – questionable, WR Taywan Taylor (foot) – questionable
After losing their first 3 games, the Texans have won 7 straight and have won in every way imaginable. Deshaun Watson is making a case for Comeback Player of the Year, passing for 2597 yards, 18 TDs, and 9 INTs, while completing 65% of his passes and averaging 8.4 YPA. DeAndre Hopkins is in the conversation for best receiver in the league with his play this year, catching 68 balls for 950 yards and 8 TDs. Lamar Miller is the teams leading rusher, carrying the ball 145 times for 611 yards and 2 TDs, while Alfred Blue has added 102 carries for 343 yards and a TD, and Deshaun Watson has rushed 54 times for 277 yards and a TD as well.
Houston’s defense ranks just outside the top 5 in scoring defense, allowing 20.5 PPG. The Texans are allowing just 234.5 yards per game and 14 TDs through the air, and are just outside the top 10 in sacks with 28. The Texans run defense is in the top 10, allowing 96 yards per game and 5 TDs. Houston has forced 17 turnovers on the year, and own a +3 turnover differential.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle) – questionable, WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot) – questionable, EDGE J.J. Watt (knee) – questionable
It’s sounding like Mariota is going to play, but if he doesn’t, stay away. The Titans offense with Mariota has a lot of potential. While the Texans defense is one of the tougher units in the league, the Titans run game is much more potent when D’s have to respect Mariota’s playmaking ability as both a runner and a passer. The Titans also boast one of the better OT duos in the league that will help to negate the threat of Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt.
The Titans pass rush may not be super productive yet, but they do have threats in Harold Landry and Jurell Casey among others to take advantage of a rough Texans O line. The Texans have also struggled to run the ball with any consistency which makes playing with a lead unsafe. Adoree Jackson is also playing phenomenal right now, and the matchup between him and DeAndre Hopkins will be fun. All in all, 6.5 is too rich at this point, and the Titans should cover here.
Final Pick: Titans (+6.5)