Healthy Henry a must for Titans to make playoffs

Friday, December 27, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 52
By Terry McCormick

The Tennessee Titans control their own destiny as they prepare to face the Houston Texans in the regular-season finale.

Who knows how hard or how long the Texans will want to play in this one, as their playoff status is already secure with a likely date against the Buffalo Bills next weekend.

The big question is what the Titans will have to do to get a win and a spot in the playoffs.

First down

Get Derrick Henry as healthy as possible. The Titans rested Henry’s sore hamstring against the Saints this past week in order to have him closer to healed for this week’s game against the Texans. The difference in the Titans run game without Henry against the Saints was evident, and having him back should help immensely, even if he isn’t 100%.

Second down

Keep spreading the ball around. The Titans passing game had relied on A.J. Brown in recent weeks, but the Saints made a concerted effort to take him away Sunday. Ryan Tannehill was able to find Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis for some big plays. Getting the ball downfield to all three guys is a must to help keep the Texans defense honest in the run game.

Third down

Get some pressure on Deshaun Watson. The Titans might have found some pass rush help with rookie Derick Roberson, who had his first two career sacks against the Saints. Harold Landry has been kept in check in recent weeks, and the Titans need his presence in the pass rush on a consistent basis.

Fourth down

Solve the kickoff issues. The Titans were hurt several times by new kicker Greg Joseph’s inability to get the ball to the end zone for touchbacks. But that has been an issue for the Titans all season. In the field position battle, the Titans can ill afford to lose hidden yards in such a critical game Sunday.