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Front Page - Friday, November 19, 2021

Texans at Titans: What to watch

The Titans have been finding ways to win while losing players – some of them marquee names like Derrick Henry and Julio Jones. Tennessee now owns the NFL’s longest active win streak at six games and will have to make sure they don’t put things on cruise control at home Sunday against the lowly Houston Texans.

First down

Find the running game. The Titans’ run game has been sluggish since Derrick Henry’s injury, and the struggling Texans might give them an opportunity to see if the three-pronged attack of Adrian Peterson, D’Onta Foreman and Jeremy McNichols can get going. They had just 66 yards on 29 carries Sunday against New Orleans.

Second down

Keep up the pressure. The Titans, who were starved for quarterback pressure a year ago, have remedied that in a big way this season. The best part is they are doing so with very little blitzing, using a four-man rush almost exclusively and making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks in recent weeks. Harold Landry (10 sacks) and Jeffery Simmons (7.5) are leading the way, and the Titans need to keep that pressure on, given that the offense may need time to find itself in Henry’s absence.

Third down

Get A.J. Brown going consistently. The Titans knew that when Henry went down that opposing defenses would start focusing on containing A.J. Brown. Brown had just one catch against the Saints, but the Titans were able to win anyway. Still, the offense needs Brown to find his game and be more consistent if this team is going to push deep into January. Doing so against the Texans might be a good place to start.

Fourth down

Don’t give them life. The 1-8 Texans are rebuilding and having an abysmal season. They would like nothing better than to take down their AFC South rival and the team their fans love to hate most of all, going back to the Titans’ exodus from Houston.

The Titans are riding a six-game win streak, but they should know that anything can happen on any given Sunday, as their last loss was against the now-2-7 Jets. The Titans need to take care of business early and not let the Texans hang around.