NFL Week 16 Upset Alert: Texans Are a Live Underdog vs. Titans

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NFL Pick: Texans ML (+135) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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The Houston Texans (1-12-1) are trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tennessee Titans (7-7), who are reeling with four straight losses. Now they may have just lost quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the rest of the season to an ankle injury. 

Tannehill already missed the last game against Houston, and the Titans were able to win 17-10 thanks to another monster game from Derrick Henry. But can rookie quarterback Malik Willis get by with another performance of barely throwing the ball against an improved Houston defense? 

Regardless of the quarterback situation, the Texans are still a 3-point road underdog at many of the top-rated sportsbooks. Could we see another upset as the AFC South is slipping away from Tennessee? Let’s see what the NFL odds can tell us.

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Saturday, December 24, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Nissan Stadium

Week 8 Recap: Titans 17 - Texans 10 

This matchup has precedent as back in Week 8, Willis made his first start at quarterback for an injured Tannehill. He only completed 6-of-10 passes for 55 yards with an interception and three sacks. The Titans had 40 net passing yards in the game. Willis also had just 5 runs for 12 yards, so this was really a game where the team got nothing from the quarterback position. 

But it sure does help to have King Henry against the defense he terrorizes the most. Henry had 32 carries for 219 yards and two touchdowns. It is the fourth game in a row against Houston where Henry rushed for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns. No other running back in NFL history has more than three games with 200 rushing yards and multiple rushing touchdowns.  

Unlike those first three games where the Titans scored 35-to-42 points, it only led to 17 points this time with Willis at quarterback, but that was enough for the win. The Titans are going to need Henry to carry the offense again. In Willis’ last start against the Chiefs, he led the offense to one first down over the last nine drives in an overtime loss.  

But how many times can you just let the same player beat you the same way? The Texans are still allowing too many points each week, but a lot of that has been on the offense turning the ball over either for touchdowns or putting the defense in terrible field position. Some of Houston’s best defensive performances of the season have been in the last month.  

The run defense remains a problem, but the Texans were able to hold Miami to 66 rushing yards and a scoreless second half in Week 12. The Texans also held Dallas to 127 rushing yards and challenged them in a near upset.  

Henry has rushed for over 100 yards in the last two games, but he failed to crack 40 yards in the two games before that. He also had four fumbles in the last month. He is not perfect, and the Texans need to sell out to contain him this week. 

Is Houston the Best 1-Win Team Ever? 

The Texans are 1-12-1, but they have been very hard to blow out this year. Their worst loss by scoring differential was 38-20 to the Raiders, and even in that game, the Texans were leading 20-17 to start the fourth quarter. 

In the last two weeks, the Texans have held fourth-quarter leads against the Cowboys and Chiefs despite being an underdog of 17.5 and 14.5 points in those games. They were 1 yard away in Dallas from taking a 10-point lead in the final minutes, and they had the ball in sudden-death overtime against the Chiefs before Davis Mills fumbled. 

The Texans are just the sixth 1-12-1 team in NFL history, and the first since the 1970 merger. They also can say they are the best of the bunch as their scoring differential is only minus 109 points. The only 1-win team with a better mark through 14 games was the 2001 Panthers, who were at minus-102 points. But the Panthers were outgained by 1700 yards while the Texans have only been outdone by 1,543 yards. 

Carolina also was 1-13 instead of having a tie, had losses by 21 and 34 points, and the team lost the rest of the games that season on the way to 1-15. With the way the Texans are playing and with three games left against the lousy AFC South, it would seem unlikely that this team is going to finish 1-15-1. 

If that happens, then you can probably conclude that Houston is the best 1-win team in NFL history. The reward for that is still a shiny No. 1 pick in the draft.  

Texans vs. Titans: Pick and Prediction 

The Texans were able to win the turnover battle the last two weeks, a key part of staying so close with the Chiefs and Cowboys despite being so outmatched. The Texans also won the turnover battle, 2-1, against Tennessee in Week 8. 

This Houston defense held the Browns without an offensive touchdown earlier this season. If the Texans can avoid those costly turnovers, then they enter this game with a better passing situation with Mills vs. Willis.

Let’s trust them to continue this Tennessee slide, contain Henry under 200 yards for a change, and get this upset for their second win of the season and for your NFL picks.  

Texans can bet on this game and cash that plus money at one of these Texas betting sites.

NFL Pick: Texans ML (+135) at Bovada

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.