FOOTBALL | NFL

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans Pick & Prediction OCT 18TH 2020

Complete TV: CBS LP Field Nashville
257Texans Houston
258Titans Tennessee
OP
55
-5.5
CU
55o -101
-6 +120
ML
ML: 165
ML: -190
Partials
1 2 4 OT
0 10 13 13 0
14 7 0 15 6
Score
36
42
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Perhaps the clearest confirmation of the Tennessee Titans' status as a legitimate Super Bowl contender came on Tuesday night in Nashville against the previously unbeaten Buffalo Bills.

 

The Titans not only looked sharp in their first game since Sept. 27, with a COVID-19 outbreak putting their season on pause following their Week 3 road victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee played with remarkable precision in all three phases, appearing in no manner disrupted by an unexpected suspension and reconfiguration of its regular season schedule.

 

On Sunday, the Titans (4-0) will host the Houston Texans (1-3) at Nissan Stadium, poised to maintain their early season momentum and positioned to secure a four-game lead on their primary AFC South rivals. The Texans have claimed four of the previous five division titles.

 

Tennessee will have to overcome the hurdle of a short preparation week while continuing to settle in on the heels of an emotional roller coaster of exacting coronavirus tests and protocols.

 

"I think that's what we have to do," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "You get back to work, win or lose, and still try to find ways to improve. I think that's something that we've always talked about. I think that the players understand that and appreciate that if you don't continue to improve and find ways to get better each and every week, you're not going to be where you want to be at the end of the season."

 

The Titans, who finished 6 for 6 in the red zone while committing zero turnovers and allowing no sacks against Buffalo, are hamstrung by the number of players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Receivers Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, fullback Khari Blasingame, tight end MyCole Pruitt and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons remained on that inactive list on Wednesday.

 

Tennessee did activate cornerback Kristian Fulton from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday but he was among the inactives after not practicing in advance of the contest against the Bills.

 

"We are hopeful that some of those players would return that are on the COVID list here in the next few days," Vrabel said.

 

The Titans' impressive showing against the Bills was not lost on their upcoming opponent. Given the topsy-turvy nature of a league playing under pandemic protocols, the effort resonated.

 

"It was a good performance by them considering what they've gone through," Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel said. "They looked fresh. The time off, I think they were really excited about being back on the field. I think that that gave them a lift, finally playing a game after having one moved and one pushed back, and now we're finally on the field. So, I think that they enjoyed it and appreciated being out there."

 

The Texans got a jolt of adversity following their first victory Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing linebacker Benardrick McKinney to season-ending shoulder surgery. McKinney, a sixth-year veteran out of Mississippi State, had 37 tackles through four games this season.

 

McKinney, 27, amassed 330 tackles while missing only two games over the previous four seasons.

 

"B-Mac's obviously an energetic guy," Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said. "A hard hitter. A guy who's been in the middle for us for a long time. So, it's definitely a tough loss to lose a guy like B-Mac. We're fortunate to have T.A. (Tyrell Adams) step in and play the way he did this past week (against Jacksonville) and we hope he continues to play at that level and obviously give us that energy he had all game long and continue to move forward.

 

"When you lose a guy like B-Mac, who's a captain, who's a guy everyone kind of looks to and respects, it's always difficult for you."

 

--Field Level Media

 

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns and the Tennessee Titans blew a two-touchdown lead only to rally for a 42-36 overtime win over the Houston Texans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville

The Titans (5-0) amassed 601 yards, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns to complement Henry. Tannehill engineered a 9-play, 76-yard drive in the waning moments, and his 7-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown with four seconds left forced overtime. In the extra period, Henry had a 53-yard reception before his 5-yard run ended it.

Deshaun Watson passed for 335 yards and four touchdowns to lead the comeback for Houston (1-5). But Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel made a late dubious decision that proved fatal.

The wild second half commenced when Texans safety Justin Reid blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt by Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Houston converted that opportunity five plays later when David Johnson scored on a 1-yard run that cut the Titans lead to 21-17 with 6:15 left in the third.

On the ensuing possession, the Titans lost left tackle Taylor Lewan to injury and the Texans capitalized immediately when J.J. Watt recorded a strip sack on Tannehill. Jacob Martin recovered the fumble at the Tennessee 4-yard line. Watson hit Randall Cobb for a 4-yard touchdown on third down and the Texans had their first lead at 23-21 following the missed PAT.

Henry responded with a 94-yard touchdown run on the first snap of the Titans' next possession only for Watson to toss a 53-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller V. When Watson threw a 1-yard touchdown to Brandin Cooks with 1:50 left, the Texans led 36-29. But a failed two-point conversion opened the door for the Titans, and they kicked it in over their last two drives.

Tennessee dominated the first half behind Tannehill, who was 14-of-19 for 149 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. The Titans had drives of 80, 71 and 85 yards and extended their streak of consecutive red-zone possessions ending in touchdowns to 10 when Tannehill hit Brown for a 6-yard score for a 14-0 lead with 12 seconds left in the first period.

The Texans sliced that deficit in half with a desperate 13-play, 82-yard march culminating in a Watson 1-yard touchdown pass to Darren Fells on fourth down at the 8:56 mark of the second quarter. But the Titans managed an immediate response with their 85-yard drive, converting a pair of third downs before Tannehill found Adam Humphries for a 22-yard strike and 21-7 lead.

--Field Level Media

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