They say you can throw out the records when divisional rivals meet. The Houston Texans certainly hope that’s true because their record so far this season is definitely trash-worthy.
Houston has lost four of five games after an opening-day tie and is dead last in the AFC South. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans come into Houston on Sunday on a four-game winning streak and are in first place in the South.
The big question surrounding the game—and one of Houston’s biggest chances to spring an upset—may be whether the Titans treat it as a get-well game and rest some of their ailing players, or whether they come to Houston on full strength for their game against the reeling Texans.
Let’s break down this game for your NFL picks.
Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 04:05 PM EDT at NRG Stadium
Banged up Titans
Ryan Tannehill's Injury
A defense that has held three straight foes to 17 points or less has helped the Titans, despite an offense that has yet to top 24 points this season. The offense may need even more help from the Tennessee D this week.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down on the first play of the fourth quarter on Sunday and left the game. He was seen on the sideline wearing a walking boot by game’s end.
Tannehill said he knew the injury “wasn’t good” when it happened, but he’s still hoping to answer the bell on Sunday. "It doesn't feel great," Tannehill said. "Sometimes that comes with the territory, right? I'm gonna be out there if I can at all possible. So I'm going to do everything I can this week to get it right and do the best I can for Sunday."
Whether Tannehill plays quarterback on Sunday or gives way to his backup, the Titans are also running out of targets to catch the passes. Tennessee finished Sunday’s game with just four healthy receivers.
Two starters are on injured reserve and not eligible to return until later in the season. Kyle Philips, who missed Sunday’s game after getting hurt, joined them on I.R. this week.
The Titans signed Chris Conley off of Kansas City’s practice squad, giving them two wide receivers who spent time on practice squads this season among the five currently in the rotation.
The defense is also dealing with injuries. Pass rusher Jeffery Simmons hurt his ankle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, and defensive back Joshua Kalu was also knocked out of the game with an injury.
Next Year Looming for Texans
At 1-4-1, the Texans aren’t in “wait ‘till next year” mode quite yet, but that time is getting close. There are already rumblings implying that it may be time to cut bait on 2022 in Houston.
There has been speculation that coach Lovie Smith may be on the hot seat and could be fired after his first year as Texans coach, and with the trade deadline coming up next week, some Texans players, including receiver Brandin Cooks, are reported to be on the block, with the team fielding offers.
Where Is the Main Issue?
Amidst all the distractions, Smith and the Texans need to find a way to shore up the defense. The Raiders rolled up 400 yards, at 7.2 yards per play, against Houston and gashed the Texans on the ground.
Las Vegas scored touchdowns on all three trips into the red zone, having their way in the one area where Houston had done well on defense this year—the Texans entered the game fourth in the league in red zone defense.
“Defensively, just didn’t play well enough,” Smith said. “We’ve got to play a lot better than we did, but we’ll keep pushing on.”
The line is tighter than might be expected at the best sportsbooks, likely due to the uncertainty about Tannehill’s status.
Following the NFL odds, even if rookie Malik Willis is taking snaps for the Titans, look for Tennessee to have enough to manhandle the Houston defense, especially with star running back Derrick Henry going against the Texans’ spotty run defense.
*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.