Texans-Titans Preview

It’s been a forgettable season for the Houston Texans, who

haven’t tasted victory since beating the Tennessee Titans all the

way back in Week 2.

They’d really like to go out with another win against them.

The Texans again try to snap the longest losing streak in

franchise history Sunday when they visit a Titans team that could

be playing its last game under coach Mike Munchak.

After entering the year with Super Bowl aspirations, Houston

(2-13) instead heads into the last week of the regular season with

the worst record in the NFL. The Texans, who lost All-Pro running

back Arian Foster to a season-ending back injury Nov. 3 and fired

coach Gary Kubiak earlier this month, have dropped 13 straight

since beating Tennessee 30-24 in overtime on Sept. 15.

“Nobody wants to be in this position, but we made our bed so we

have to lay in it,” star wideout Andre Johnson said. “Hopefully we

can get a win Sunday so we don’t have to deal with this losing

streak the whole offseason.”

After winning a franchise-best 12 games and its second

consecutive AFC South title last season, Houston now is on the

verge of matching its franchise-worst 2-14 record from 2005.

“I just want to win. I don’t have any feelings. I just want to

win,” said J.J. Watt, who has 9 1/2 sacks after having a

league-high 20 1/2 last year. “I can definitely say all year long,

nobody’s ever given up. Nobody’s ever laid down and said, ‘We’re

just going to ride it out.’ Guys come to work and guys put in the

effort to try and win.”

“We definitely would like to get this win headed into the

offseason, at least end it on a positive note.”

The Texans have scored a league-low 15.8 points per game since

beating the Titans. Matt Schaub’s three-yard touchdown pass to

DeAndre Hopkins in OT gave Houston its third straight victory over

Tennessee and seventh in 10 meetings.

Tennessee (6-9) had dropped three straight and eight of 10

before winning 20-16 at Jacksonville last Sunday. It could be too

little, too late, though, for Munchak, whose future with the team

is very up in the air.

Munchak has gone 21-26 during three seasons at the helm,

including a 2-20 record against winning teams. Tennessee, which

hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008, has dropped five straight at

home for the first time since 1996 as the Houston Oilers.

“To win a game at home, it’s big to finish a season that way so

that’s all I’m focused on,” Munchak said. “That’s all I can control

in the next week and that’s what we’ll concentrate on.”

The Texans are coming off last Sunday’s 37-13 rout at the hands

of Denver. Schaub, filling in for the injured Case Keenum (thumb),

threw for 176 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in his

first start since Week 6.

Johnson had four catches to reach 103 for the season – second in

the league. He’s gone over 100 five times in his career, tying Wes

Welker’s NFL record.

“It’s all fine and dandy,” Johnson said, “but I only play the

game for one reason, and that’s to win. It’s a great thing to

happen, but under these circumstances it really doesn’t

matter.”

While it’s unclear who the Texans will turn to at quarterback,

interim coach Wade Phillips named Jonathan Grimes his starting

running back with Ben Tate (broken ribs) and Deji Karim (broken

collarbone) both out. Dennis Johnson (bruised hip) is uncertain to

be available.

“It’s just another opportunity,” Grimes said of his first career

start. “I’m not trying to buy into too much. I’m just trying to do

my best.”

Grimes would appear to have a favorable matchup against a Titans

run defense which has been gashed for 609 yards and 11 TDs during

the five-game skid at home.

Shonn Greene and Chris Johnson, meanwhile, combined for 181

rushing yards last week as the Titans recorded a season-high 44

carries. They are 6-2 when running the ball at least 29 times

compared to 0-7 when they don’t.

Johnson needs 50 rushing yards to become the sixth player in NFL

history to record 1,000 in each of his first six seasons. He ran

for 96 against the Texans earlier this year.