NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** The Tennessee Titans (7-4) return home this week to face the AFC South rival Houston Texans (4-7). Kickoff at Nissan Stadium (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CST on Sunday, Dec. 3.
The Titans hope for a split in the twice-a-year series. In the first matchup, played Oct. 1 at NRG Stadium, the Texans won 57-14. The Titans own a narrow 16-15 advantage in the all-time series.
The game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel and analyst Trent Green will call the action, and Jamie Erdahl will report from the sidelines.
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 Dave McGinnis, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
TITANS GRAB SHARE OF AFC SOUTH LEAD **
This week's contest will be the only home game for the Titans over a five-week period. They suffered a loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 16 but bounced back with a win last week at Indianapolis. After hosting the Texans they will travel for games at Arizona and San Francisco.
Against the Colts, running back DeMarco Murray scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to help the Titans to a 20-16 victory. Quarterback Marcus Mariota, who earlier in the contest threw a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker, was credited with his eighth career game-winning drive and his fourth of 2017—all of which have come in the last six games.
Meanwhile, the Titans defense totaled eight sacks against the Colts, which tied for the third-largest total in franchise history and the most since an eight-sack game at Buffalo on Nov. 10, 1985. Defensive end DaQuan Jones led the way with a pair of sacks. The eight sacks fell one short of the franchise record of nine, accomplished on two occasions— against the New York Titans on Oct. 14, 1962, and against the Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 31, 1971.
The win, coupled with a loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4) at Arizona, put the Titans and Jaguars into a tie for first place in the division. Due to their victory in Jacksonville on Sept. 17, the Titans currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jaguars, who visit Nissan Stadium to close the regular season Dec. 31. The Jaguars host the Colts this week (Sunday, noon CT).
*THE TEXANS *
The Texans have a short week to prepare and travel to Tennessee. They are coming off a 23-16 loss to Baltimore on Monday Night Football. Prior to that, they knocked of fthe Arizona Cardinals 31-21, marking the sixth time in 2017 they scored at least 30 points.
Since their Oct. 1 victory over the Titans, the Texans have endured a number of significant injuries. Quarterback Deshaun Watson, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus and defensive end J.J. Watt all landed on injured reserve since that meeting, among others. Watson, the team's first-round pick in 2017, passed for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns with a 103.0 passer rating prior to his season-ending knee injury.
With Watson out, the Texans have turned to veteran Tom Savage at quarterback. Through the club's clash with the Cardinals, Savage's season totals included 66 completions on 125 attempts for 732 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Texans won the AFC South in 2016, finishing with their second consecutive division title under head coach Bill O'Brien, who was named to his current post in 2014. O'Brien became the 14th NFL coach since 1978 to begin his head coaching career with three consecutive winning seasons.
*ANNUAL TOYS FOR TOTS DRIVE *
Prior to this week's game, fans are encouraged to participate in the annual U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off with members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve stationed outside of the gates at Nissan Stadium. All toys collected during the drive will be used in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program and distributed to children in Middle Tennessee.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Houston Texans. (AP Photos, Donn Jones)