Houston at Tennessee
Time: NOON CST, CBS
Spread: TEN -2.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Tennessee Titans are 8-5 and currently atop the AFC South division. It will host the visiting Houston Texans Sunday at NOON (CST) as 2.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 51.5 total points according to NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
TEN, News & notes:
The Titans have won four-straight games since its last loss to the Carolina Panthers. Over that stretch, it has defeated Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland, and Indianapolis. Derrick Henry is listed as questionable in this game after not practicing this week. Henry is the Titans’ No. 1 rusher with 1,243 yards this season.
Ryan Tannehill never really got it together in Miami, but he has put together a very strong season with the Titans. He threw for 391 yards on 21 of 27 passing in last week’s win over the Raiders, and he has been 68 percent or better on his completions over the four-game win streak. Over that span, Tannehill has thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception. In the last loss to the Panthers five weeks ago, he had two interceptions in that game alone.
Perhaps it served as a wakeup call for the veteran because he has been rock-solid since that defeat. Tannehill is completing 73.4 percent of his passes this year with almost 2,000 yards and 15 TDs to his five picks. His passer rating is 118.5, and he has been much better than vaunted prospect Marcus Mariota, who may never reach his ultimate “potential” after really struggling this season. The offensive line was finally not fully to blame, Mariota simply made some very bad plays. Tannehill also functions well as a rushing threat. He has attempted just nine rushes but averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry and he has three touchdowns, which trails only Henry (13).
The Titans rank No. 21 in passing yards but are a top-10 rushing team at 128.2 yards per game. The offense overall, too, is solid. Tennessee averages 24.5 points per game while limiting its opponents to just 19.6 per, good for a differential of +4.9 points. Tannehill’s top passing targets have been AJ Brown and Corey Davis. Brown is the leader in yards (779), touchdowns (6) and first downs (29). Tight end Jonnu Smith has been featured, but so has backup Delanie Walker. That duo combines for 48 catches and over 500 yards between them, as Tennessee has gotten the most out of its tight ends this season.
Kicking has been a problem for the Titans this season. Between its three placekickers, it has managed to get just 8 of 17 field goals. The best has been Cody Parkey, who is 3 of 3, including a long-kick of 51 yards. Of course, the trio has gone 38 of 40 on PATs, but the field goal kicking has been something of an Achilles heel when the Titans cannot just drive it into the end zone for six.
HOU, News & notes:
The Houston Texans are 8-5 and in first place of the AFC South. Houston has been very strong offensively this season, ranking top-10 in both pass and rush offense. Overall, the Texans generate 375-plus yards per game on average, though it does rank just No. 11 in scoring at 24.4 points per game. The defense has been quite mediocre though, allowing 23.8, which has made for a lot of close games despite the dominance of the offensive unit (at least in terms of yardage, execution in the red zone has been something of an issue).
Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson is blossoming into a great quarterback. He has thrown 295 of 436 (67 percent) with 24 touchdowns and just nine picks. He has suffered 38 sacks for 225 yards lost, but he has otherwise a very strong resume. Carlos Hyde has carried on what he did as an Ohio State Buckeyes into the NFL— efficient and consistent production. Hyde is the lead rusher with 926 yards and four touchdowns. Watson, of course, is a major threat in his own right from the pocket, ranking as the No. 3 rusher in yardage (344) and No. 2 in touchdowns (7).
Watson also is No. 2 in yards-per-carry at 5.1 per attempt, while No. 2 rusher Duke Johnson of Miami leads the team with 5.2 yards-per-carry. Watson’s top receiving threat has been DeAndre Hopkins, who has put together a monster season. Hopkins has caught 93 of 133 targeted passes for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. Kenny Stills has done well as a No. 3 option from the Tight end position. Stills has 32 catches for 469 yards, both of which rank No. 3 on the team. Surprisingly, he has only been a TD target two times. The Texans have 25 receiving touchdowns on the season.