Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans Preview and Predictions 12-29-2019

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The Tennessee Titans plan to have their muscle in the backfield as they attempt to strengthen their bid for the playoffs. Rugged Derrick Henry is expected to return from a one-game absence on Sunday in the Titans' do-or-die contest against the host Houston Texans.

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An ailing hamstring reduced Henry to the role of a spectator in Tennessee's 38-28 setback to New Orleans last week, but the league's third-ranked rusher (1,329 yards) is trending in a positive direction after being listed as a full participant in Thursday's practice. "Anytime you can get some time to rest it's a good thing. I love football. I love playing the game. I'm definitely ready," the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry said. Henry rushed for 86 yards in the Titans' 24-21 loss to Houston on Dec. 15, a decision that helped guide the Texans to a fourth AFC South title in five years. Houston may elect to rest its starters, however, if Kansas City locks up the No. 3 seed with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers in an earlier game on Sunday.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -3.5 O/U: 45

ABOUT THE TITANS (8-7): Ryan Tannehill recorded his third straight three-touchdown performance by throwing for a trio of scores versus New Orleans. "Ryan continues to do his job and help us find ways to win," coach Mike Vrabel said. "I think there are things that we will take out of (Sunday) that are really positive, like most of the other players. There are things that we have to take away that we have to get fixed (this) week." Rookie A.J. Brown, who rushed for a 49-yard touchdown against the Saints, was limited to just one catch for 34 yards in that contest after erupting for a season-high eight receptions in his 114-yard effort versus the Texans the previous week. Tight end Jonnu Smith has found the end zone in two of his last three games while recording 117 scrimmage yards (60 receiving, 57 rushing) in the previous meeting with Houston.

ABOUT THE TEXANS (10-5): Deshaun Watson has tormented Tennessee thus far in his NFL career with 12 touchdowns (10 passing, two rushing) in four meetings, but he is coming off a subpar performance after throwing for 184 yards and one interception in a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay on Saturday. DeAndre Hopkins was able to reel in at least five catches versus the Buccaneers for the 15th straight time this season, joining New Orleans' Michael Thomas as the lone wideouts to accomplish that feat in 2019. Fellow receiver Kenny Stills collected a pair of touchdown grabs in the previous meeting with the Titans. Carlos Hyde has rushed for a score in back-to-back games and resides just 43 yards shy of becoming the first Texans running back since Arian Foster to reach 1,100 yards in a season.


1. Houston would capture the No. 3 seed in the AFC on Sunday with a win and a Kansas City loss by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs.

2. Tennessee can still claim a playoff berth with a loss on Sunday, but it will need Baltimore to defeat Pittsburgh and Indianapolis to lose to Jacksonville.

3. Texans DE J.J. Watt returned to practice this week and appears to be close to a return following a two-month absence after tearing a pectoral muscle against Oakland on Oct. 27.

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Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

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Last Injuries

Houston Texans

  • A.J. Moore Jr.

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Moore has been placed on the injured reserve list with a left hamstring injury, and it is uncertain when he will be activated.

  • Peter Kalambayi

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Kalambayi has been held out of the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, and it is uncertain if he will take the field Sunday versus the Vikings.

  • Duke Johnson

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Johnson has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, and he it is unclear if he will be ready for Sunday's matchup against the Vikings.

  • Jonathan Greenard

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Greenard has sat out the past three games due to an ankle injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up against the Vikings on Sunday.

  • Zach Cunningham

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Cunningham exited the last game due to a leg injury, and it is unclear if he will play Sunday against the Vikings.

  • Laremy Tunsil

    Prob Sun | probable

    Tunsil is dealing with an elbow injury, but he is projected to line up against the Steelers on Sunday.

  • J.J. Watt

    Prob Sun | probable

    Watt has a groin injury, but he is likely to face the Steelers on Sunday.

  • Kenny Stills

    Prob Sun | probable

    Stills is suffering from an unspecified illness, but he is expected to take the field against the Steelers on Sunday.

Tennessee Titans

  • Derick Roberson

    day-to-day | questionable

    Roberson has missed the past three games with an illness and a knee injury. It is unclear if he will make his season debut Week 4 against the Steelers.

  • DaQuan Jones

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Jones has been designated for the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and there is no timetable for return.

  • Taylor Lewan

    day-to-day | questionable

    Lewan exited the previous game due to a left shoulder injury, and it is undetermined if he will play against the Steelers in Week 4.

  • Beau Brinkley

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Brinkley has been added to the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and he will miss an extended period.

  • Kamalei Correa

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Correa has been ticketed for the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.

  • Chris Jackson

    day-to-day | questionable

    Jackson was held out of the last game with a hamstring injury, and it is uncertain if he will take part Week 4 versus the Steelers.

  • A.J. Brown

    day-to-day | questionable

    Brown has sat out the previous two games with a bone bruise in his knee, and it is unknown if he will return against the Steelers in Week 4.

  • Senorise Perry

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Perry has been assigned to the injured reserve list with an undetermined ailment, and team officials have yet to provide an exact return date.