Texans at Titans: What to watch

Friday, December 01, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 48

Sunday, Dec. 3

Noon

TV: CBS (WTVF, Channel 5)

Radio: 104.5 FM

1. Remember the Alamo, or something like that. OK, it was in Houston, not San Antonio, but the game in week four was a 57-14 drubbing at the hands of the Texans. The Titans won’t have to deal with rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson, who torched them that day. He is lost for the season with a torn ACL, but that game should serve as plenty of motivation to take care of business in a much-needed AFC South game.

2. Be Savage. The Texans will be starting Tom Savage at quarterback, and that is good news for the Titans pass rush, which found its rhythm Sunday against the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett with eight sacks. Savage is far less mobile than Brissett.

3. Find the run game earlier. The Titans run game was AWOL against the Colts until the fourth quarter. The Titans have to find some consistency there much earlier, even if that means handing the load over to Derrick Henry instead of DeMarco Murray.

4. Keep on finding a way. Marcus Mariota’s touchdown-to-interception ratio is bad. The Titans can’t get DeMarco Murray going consistently and the defense has been up and down this year. Despite all that, Tennessee is 7-4 in, barring an unforeseen collapse is likely on its way to the postseason for the first time in nine years. They can’t afford a slip-up against the Texans in what should be a winnable game.

Key Matchups

Taylor Lewan vs Jadeveon Clowney. No J.J. Watt, no Whitney Mercilus, no Brian Cushing. But Jadeveon Clowney has become a wrecking ball while carrying the Texans defense. Lewan is very familiar with Clowney, and will work to keep him at bay.

Marcus Mariota vs. Andre Hal. The former Vanderbilt defensive back leads the Texans with three interceptions and had one in the earlier meeting against the Titans. Mariota needs to get back on track and not throw any footballs to the other-colored jerseys.

Derrick Morgan vs. Breno Giacomini. The Texans’ offensive line has been a work in progress this season, and Giacomini will have his hands full with Morgan, who has quietly put together another good season for the Titans, leading the team in sacks with seven.