Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans Matchup Preview 12/29/19: Analysis, Betting Corner

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2019
Time: 4:25 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)
Coverage: CBS

Tennessee Titans Analysis

Tennessee TitansAfter winning 4 straight, the Titans have dropped their last two. One of those losses came two weeks ago against the Texans. The offense has not been a problem for the Titans, as they have scored 20 points or more in every game since Week 7. Unlike last year, the defense has struggled for Tennessee. Currently sitting as the 6th seed, if they win, they are in the playoffs. If they lose, they would need a loss by the Steelers to get in. With the importance of this divisional matchup on the road, look for them to go all in.

Tennessee Titans Depth Chart

QB: Ryan Tannehill
RB1: Derrick Henry
RB2: Dion Lewis
WR1: Corey Davis
WR2: A.J. Brown
WR3: Adam Humphries
TE: Delanie Walker

Houston Texans Analysis

Houston TexansThe Texans have already clinched the AFC South. As the current 4th seed, they are basically playing for seeding. No matter what, a wild card playoff game for them would be at home. The Texans have won 4 of their last 5 games, with solid performance on both offense and defense. Their achilles heel is their offensive line. They continue to let teams get pressure on Deshaun Watson, along with a somewhat inconsistent running game. With both Watson and Hopkins not fully healthy, their offensive firepower may need some heavy relief from Carlos Hyde.

Houston Texans Depth Chart

QB: Deshaun Watson
RB1: Duke Johnson
RB2: Carlos Hyde
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR2: Will Fuller
WR3: Keke Coutee
TE: Jordan Akins

Passing Game

Ryan Tannehill has played tremendous as starter for the Titans. He continues to impress, with 15 total TDs in the past 5 games. He did everything he could last week against a pretty stiff Saints defense in a high scoring game. Look for that to continue against a defense that has given up the 3rd most passing yards this year.

Deshaun Watson is one of the up-and-coming MVPs in this league. He went for 243 yards and 2 TDs in the last matchup. He tends to up his play in big games. He surprisingly only went for 184 yards and 0 TDs against a suspect defense of the Buccaneers last week. With not much on the line, if he plays, he may not have a great game. The Titans do rank 24th in passing yards given up, so he could easily torch their secondary. The presence of a running game will be key.

Running Game

Derrick Henry did not play last week, as Dion Lewis took his place. Henry will be back this week, looking to ensure that the Titans get a playoff bid. He is one of the top 5 most sure fire backs in the game. The Texans’ defense is not great against the run either, so he may have a huge game. Given the hot streak of the passing game for the Titans, the Texans may focus their game plans on stopping that. This may open up the floodgates for him if he is healthy.

The Texans’ run game against the Titans in the last game was great. RB Carlos Hyde went for 104 yards and a touchdown. His consistency has been questioned at different times throughout the year, ranking only 20th in fantasy points for running backs. As a result, you don’t know what you are getting week to week. While many of his subpar performances came against tough run defense (NE, Bal, etc.), many of his best games came against mediocre run defenses. The Titans rank 11th in rush yards given up, so this could go either way. Duke Johnson for the Texans will be a non-factor.

Receiving Game

AJ Brown is the one receiver who can have a huge game. He was shutdown last week with only 1 catch for 34 yards. He still scored on the ground as a rusher, showing how dynamic he truly is with the ball in his hands. Receiver, Corey Davis, is a solid receiver, along with Tajae Sharpe. The Titans have a wide range of receivers they utilize. Given TE Delanie Walker is out for the year, Jonnu Smith may benefit in his replacement. At 6’3 250lbs, he is a target in the red zone, with 2 TDs the past 3 weeks. A balanced, talented attack in the receiving game is expected from the Titans.

Deandre Hopkins promised to deliver Michael Thomas type numbers this year and failed, but he has been consistent nevertheless. He currently ranks as the 6th best receiver in fantasy. Dealing with an illness, he would like to bounce back from a 23 yard performance last week versus the Bucs. Both weeks prior, he had 100 yard games. If he plays, he will be a major factor in the game. The Texans have gone through several receivers on the year. The likes of Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills have been utilized at different points in the season. The Texans have several deep threats, but a lack of targets for the short game. Without a consistent tight end, the usage of Hopkins is even more certain.

Betting Corner

The Titans are 2.5 favorites against the Texans. Despite Houston coach O’Brien claiming that his starters will play, they are banged up. They have already secured a home playoff game, so they may start off sluggish. Given the importance of this game for the Titans, look for them to be as aggressive as possible to win this game. It will all come down to how fast a start the Titan offense gets off to. If they can establish a solid lead early, look for them to win this game. These two divisional opponents do not like each other, so it will be close nonetheless.

I am an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University studying economics and business. I serve as a member for the Sports Analytics Club at CMU. My interests include data analysis, fantasy, player projections, and performance evaluation.

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