NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** The Tennessee Titans (1-2) play their first of two consecutive road games this week, traveling to Houston to face the reigning AFC South Champion Texans (2-1). Kickoff at NRG Stadium (capacity 71,795) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, Oct. 2.
This week's game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy will call the action alongside analyst Adam Archuleta.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
TITANS LOOK TO EVEN RECORD AND DIVISION STANDINGS
The Titans enter this week's showdown with their AFC South rivals with a chance to create a tie at the top of the division. The Texans are in sole possession of first place for the time being, with the Titans and Indianapolis Colts (1-2) looking for a share of first place. The Colts square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) this Sunday in London.
Last week the Titans hosted the Oakland Raiders and had a late rally come up short, ultimately falling by a final score of 17-10. In the game's final two minutes, Marcus Mariota led the team down the field, but the drive ended with an incomplete pass into the end zone on fourth down.
In the loss, running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, reaching the 100-yard mark for the 22nd time in his career, including playoffs. He led a rushing attack that totaled 181 rushing yards against the Raiders, the Titans' second-highest rushing total since the beginning of the 2014 season.
Through three games, Murray has carried 41 times for 245 yards and one touchdown, and he has added a team-high 17 receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing yards, third in rushing average (6.0) and fourth in scrimmage yards (377). Murray's 17 total first downs are tied for third in the league.
Mariota, the second-overall draft pick in 2015, is scheduled to make his 16th career start this week. It will be his first appearance against the Texans. His statistics through his first 15 games include 3,541 passing yards, 23 touchdown passes, 14 interceptions and an 88.7 passer rating. In 2016, he is 67-of-107 for 723 yards with four touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 79.3.
Meanwhile, the Titans defense limited an opposing offense to 17 or fewer points for the third consecutive week, allowing the Raiders offense two touchdowns and a field goal. Excluding points scored by opposing defenses on returns and a safety, the Titans gave up four field goals in the season opener against Minnesota (12 points) and one touchdown and two field goals in Week 2 at Detroit (13 points).
The Texans will have 10 days to prepare for the Titans. Following consecutive home wins to begin the season against Chicago and Kansas City, they visited New England last Thursday night and fell by a final score of 27-0.
Bill O'Brien is in his third campaign as head coach of the Texans. In 2015, he led the club to a division title after going 9-7 for the second consecutive regular season.
During the 2016 offseason, the Texans landed quarterback Brock Osweiler as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos. In seven starts in 2015 for the eventual Super Bowl Champions, Osweiler compiled a 5-2 record. The former second-round draft pick passed for 1,967 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.
On defense, the Texans are led by three-time Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Watt has 76 career sacks in six NFL seasons, and last year he reached the 70-sack mark quicker than any player in NFL history other than Reggie White.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Houston Texans. (AP Photos, Donn Jones)