Game Scout: Texans at Titans

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Houston Texans (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (6-9)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at LP Field, Nashville - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Andrew Catalon, Adam Archuleta
*Keys to the game: Houston will scrap to avoid ending the season with a 14-game losing streak because of the team's young talent fighting to make a lasting impression. RB Jonathan Grimes, involved in 10 transactions with three teams since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012, starts for the Texans while QB Case Keenum (thumb) is uncertain. The Titans are throwing on first down more often, but Houston's third-down defense has become stingy of late, allowing 11 conversions on 40 attempts in the past three games. Setting up Titans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick with decent down-and-distance situations can keep him away from trouble and the turnover trip coach Wade Phillips sets with his blitz packages. The Texans are vulnerable up the gut, and Tennessee ran the ball 33 times in the Week 2 meeting.
*Matchup to watch - Texans WR Andre Johnson vs. Titans CB Alterraun Verner: Johnson has 103 receptions, but Verner (five interceptions) limited him to short gains in Week 2. Verner is in the final game of his four-year rookie contract and could score one of the most lucrative free-agent deals this offseason if he departs Nashville.
*Player spotlight - Titans WR Kendall Wright: He's third in the NFL with 29 catches on third down, but is rarely targeted in the red zone. Wright isn't a good matchup for Houston's clingy secondary.
*Fast facts: Fitzpatrick made his NFL debut against the Texans in 2005 with 310 yards and three TD passes. ... The Texans have a minus-17 turnover ratio. ... Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins is averaging 23.7 yards per reception this month.
The Texans' last victory was Sept. 15 against the Titans. Houston makes it four straight wins over Tennessee to kick off an offseason promised to bring major changes to the franchise.
*Our pick: Texans 24-22

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