Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans: Predictions and Odds (NFL Week 15)
The Green Men of WSN’s Picks and Best Bets Podcast disagree on the winner but, my prediction for the final score is Texans 27, Titans 24
How to Watch: Texans vs Titans
What: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
When: Sunday, December 15 at 1:00 pm ET
Where: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee
How (TV): CBS
Texans vs Titans – Point Spread
Texans +2.5, Titans -2.5
Houston vs Tennessee – Game Preview
In this exciting AFC South battle for dominance, the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, two 8-5 teams, take each other on to see which one will control their division and play in the playoffs this January.
Last week, the Texans came up short against the Denver Broncos, who were starting their rookie quarterback Drew Lock for just the second time, while the Titans easily took care of the Raiders in Oakland by a dominant score of 42-21.
Houston and Tennessee are about evenly matched on both sides, so this could be anyone’s game, and here we take a quick side-by-side look at these two teams to see how they match up for what looks to be a thrilling Week 15 confrontation, one that will be repeated again in Week 17 to end the season properly.
The 8-5-0 Houston Texans
The 8-5 Houston Texans went from beating the mighty New England Patriots in Week 13 to getting beat by the struggling Denver Broncos in Week 14, a setback that has to be concerning to a team that expects to play and win in the upcoming postseason.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw an uncharacteristic two interceptions in that Denver loss and was sacked just as many times, but he should have it a bit easier against the Titans on Sunday, who aren’t nearly as effective against the pass as the Broncos have been.
The Texans’ defense has been having a tough time of it, though – they’re currently ranked 25th overall in the league – and coordinator Romeo Crennel’s group will have to start stepping up if they expect to get enough wins to play football past the regular season.
The 8-5-0 Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have won six of their last seven games, and it would be tempting to credit the man they have placed under center for those games, Ryan Tannehill, who is proving that he is not as washed up as some haters may have thought.
Tannehill is completing over 73 percent of his passes and has 15 touchdowns in those seven games to just 5 total interceptions, with almost 2,000 passing yards to his name, all welcome totals compared to what his predecessor, the now benched Marcus Mariota, had been putting up.
But credit for the Titans’ strong performance of late should also go to hard-hitting running back Derrick Henry, who has quietly become the league’s second-most productive rusher this season, right now with 250 carries for 1,243 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
Texans vs Titans – History
These two AFC South rivals have met 34 total times (including no postseason games), with Houston winning 16 of those times and Tennessee winning the other 18 games.
The last time these two teams played was twice during last season, the first game in September played in Tennessee, final score Titans 20, Texans 17, and the second one played in Texas, final score Texans 34, Titans 17.
If the Texans win this matchup, they’ll move to 9-5-0 and climb to the top of the AFC South, plus they will remain as the projected fourth playoff seed in the AFC.
But if the Titans come out winners in this one, they’ll be the ones who shift to 9-5-0 and become the divisional leaders, plus they would move into the playoffs as the projected fourth seed since they would be the leaders of the AFC South.
Of course, nothing will be totally settled either way since these two teams will face each other once again in Week 17.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 15 Texans-Titans matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Texans and the Titans next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive Stats Comparison
Houston Texans Overall Offense
- Ranked 9th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 10th
- Rushing attack currently ranked 7th
With Watson under center, the Houston Texans post over 375 total yards on offense and almost 25 points per game, with a well-balanced passing and rushing attack that makes them a tough team to defend for a full sixty minutes.
Their two-headed rushing attack features the soft-handed Duke Johnson and the hard-hitting Carlos Hyde, the two backs helping to turn Houston into a top-10 running team that typically carries the ball for over 130 yards per game.
A couple of injuries to some key players could limit their offensive potency on Sunday, with wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) and running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring) both currently listed as questionable for Week 15.
Tennessee Titans Overall Offense
- Ranked 18th overall in 2019
- Passing attack currently ranked 21st
- Rushing attack currently ranked 8th
Surprisingly, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has turned the Titans’ season around, guiding the team to six wins over the seven games in which he’s started, though Tennessee’s passing attack is still ranked in the bottom third of the league.
It’s Derrick Henry that makes the Titans’ offense totally scary because he can not only run effectively out of the backfield, he can also catch outlet screen passes and because he’s so hard to tackle he invariably gets plenty of extra yards after the catch.
Tennessee is pretty banged up on the offensive side of the ball though, and right now Henry (hamstring) is listed as questionable, as is wide receiver Adam Humphries (ankle), two powerful targets that must suit up for these Titans to win on Sunday.
The Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans have equally effective rushing attacks, but the Texans get the offensive advantage because Deshaun Watson’s passing game is far superior right now to Ryan Tannehill’s.
Defensive Stats Comparison
Houston Texans Overall Defense
- Ranked 25th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 27th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 18th
This is where the Houston Texans could use some improvement since the playoffs tend to be gained and won by the teams who are defensively strong, and right now the Texans allow opponents to score almost 24 points per game, which is tough for any offense, including theirs, to outscore.
Free safety Tashaun Gipson is having a terrific season in the Texans’ secondary, so far with 3 interceptions (one of those was an amazing 79-yard pick-six), 11 passes defend and 40 total tackles on the year.
Right now, there are a half dozen defensive Houston players on injured reserve (including star defensive end J.J. Watt), and for Week 15 defensive end Carlos Watkins (hamstring) is listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision on Sunday.
Tennessee Titans Overall Defense
- Ranked 19th overall in 2019
- Passing defense currently ranked 25th
- Rushing defense currently ranked 10th
The Tennessee Titans are strong against the run but are ranked 25th against the pass after allowing opponents to throw for an average of 260 yards per game, something that may make winning this one difficult if Watson decides to have one of his epic Sundays.
Of course, Watson had better keep his eyes peeled for Titans linebacker Harold Landry, who right now has 9 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, an interception, a forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and 62 total tackles (12 for a loss) this season.
Like a lot of NFL teams by Week 15, the Titans are dealing with injuries on the defensive side of the ball, with linebackers Daren Bates (shoulder) and Derick Roberson (illness), cornerback Adoree Jackson (foot) and safety Kenny Vaccaro (concussion) all listed as questionable for this one.
Both of these teams are weak against the pass, but the Tennessee Titans are stronger against the run than the Houston Texans are, so they will have the defensive advantage in this one.
Texans vs Titans – Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Texans Win this Game?
The Houston Texans will win this game because Deshaun Watson is money in the big games and this one is huge – expect him to find receiver DeAndre Hopkins early and often, especially if Will Fuller is still moving slowly from being dinged up (see above).
The Texans’ run game will have to play large for them to win this game – Johnson and Hyde are facing a top-10 run defense so this will not be a given, but a solid outing by the receiving corps sure would help.
Houston is not terrific on the road – they’re 3-3 away from Texas right now – so they will have to figure out how to communicate to each other on offense while the Tennessee fans are screaming at the top of their heads, but the tables will turn the other way in Week 17 when the Titans will have to travel to Texas for their final rematch.
Why Will the Titans Win this Game?
The Tennessee Titans can win this one if two of their main offensive targets can actually suit up – Derrick Henry and Adam Humphries are listed as questionable right now (see above) and without them, this will be a nearly impossible game to win.
It would be foolish to underestimate Ryan Tannehill in this one – he is on a four-game winning streak and another win here would do a lot for his previously tarnished reputation, so expect another impressive outing from him.
Tennessee will win this one because they are at home and that matters – they are 4-2 at Nissan Stadium this season and their competitive hometown crowd could play a major factor in this one, especially given that they know the Titans have to play the Texans in Texas in Week 17 and their boys will have to endure Houston’s loud fans in that one.
Texans vs Titans – Who Will Win?
The Houston Texans will win this one in the fourth quarter by a field goal, with Deshaun Watson and his high-level targets taking full advantage of the Titans’ weak pass defense.
My prediction for the final score is Texans 27, Titans 24
Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans Odds