Game Preview: Titans Travel to Houston with AFC's Top Seed on the Line

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The Tennessee Titans conclude the regular season this week, traveling to face the AFC South rival Houston Texans (4-12). Kickoff at NRG Stadium (71,995) is scheduled for noon CST on Sunday, Jan. 9. 

With last week's 34-3 win over the Miami Dolphins that improved their record to 11-5, the Titans captured their second consecutive AFC South title and their third consecutive postseason berth under executive vice president/general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel. They are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC's best record, but they currently hold the conference's top playoff seed based on their head-to-head victory over the Chiefs (27-3 on Oct. 24). A win this week by the Titans would guarantee homefield advantage and a first-round bye.

In a week that marks the first time in NFL history that teams will play a 17th game in the regular season, this is the third consecutive year in which the Titans will conclude the regular season at Houston. They prevailed on the previous two occasions, winning 35-14 in 2019 and 41-38 in the 2020 finale.

THE BROADCAST

Sunday's contest will be regionally televised on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. The broadcast team includes play-by-play announcer Andrew Catalon, analyst James Lofton and reporter Sherree Burruss.

Fans can livestream the broadcast on their mobile devices from the Titans Mobile App (iOS and Android), as well as on desktop computers and mobile web at TennesseeTitans.com. Restrictions apply. For information and more streaming options visit TennesseeTitans.com or NFL.com/ways-to-watch.

The Titans Radio Network and Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Dave McGinnis, sideline reporter Amie Wells and gameday host Rhett Bryan.

Additionally, Sports USA will broadcast the game to a national radio audience. Play-by-play announcer Larry Kahn and analyst Doug Plank will have the call.

TITANS WIN BACK-TO-BACK AFC SOUTH TITLES

The Titans never trailed in last week's victory over the Dolphins at Nissan Stadium. On a 36-degree, rainy afternoon, Ryan Tannehill passed for a pair of touchdowns and was accompanied by a 132-yard rushing effort by D'Onta Foreman. Meanwhile, the Titans defense never allowed the Dolphins inside the Tennessee 20-yard line, totaling four sacks and a pair of takeaways in a 34-3 win.

Foreman, who had a 21-yard touchdown run, has three 100-yard performances in his last five games. During that span, his 413 rushing yards rank fifth in the NFL. 

The Titans defense, which has allowed 39 total points in the last four games, improved its 2021 rankings to sixth in scoring defense (20.6 points allowed per game), second in rushing defense (85.9 yards per game), tied for ninth in sacks (41), and tied for ninth in interceptions (17).

The Titans won the organization's first back-to-back division championships since the Oilers took the first three AFL Eastern division titles from 1960 to 1962. The last time the team went to the postseason in three consecutive years was during a franchise-record seven consecutive playoff appearances from 1987 to 1993.

THE TEXANS

The Texans are 4-12 after last week's 23-7 loss at San Francisco. They had won the previous two games prior to falling to the 49ers.

Houston is concluding its first season under head coach David Culley, a Middle Tennessee native who was hired by the Texans after two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens as assistant head coach/pass coordinator/wide receivers coach. Culley grew up in Sparta, Tenn., and then played quarterback at Vanderbilt University. He has coached at Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, Chattanooga, Middle Tennessee State and Austin Peay.

At quarterback, rookie Davis Mills has started 10 games for the Texans this season, including each of the past four contests. The third-round pick out of Stanford University has passed for 2,363 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He did not play at Tennessee on Nov. 21, when Tyrod Taylor quarterbacked the Texans to a 22-13 victory against the Titans.

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