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Texans vs. Titans 2013 game preview: Will Houston land the No. 1 pick

The Titans and Texans are out of the playoff race, but the game on Sunday is far from meaningless.

Sam Greenwood

The Texans and Titans don't have anything but pride to play for on Sunday, but the game could have a major impact on the NFL landscape. If Houston loses, it will secure the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

At 2-13, the Texans are currently one game worse than the 3-12 Redskins. St. Louis holds Washington's pick, so Rams fans will be rooting for the Texans. If Houston wins and Washington loses to the Giants, the Rams would hold the No. 1 pick.

While possible, that isn't necessarily likely, especially with how Houston has played lately. A rash of injuries doesn't help matters for Houston, either, but the Texans did beat Tennessee in Week 2. Tennessee led 24-16 late in that game before Houston scored and converted a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. DeAndre Hopkins won the game for the Texans with a touchdown grab in overtime.

Houston has had the upper hand in the matchup recently, winning four of the last five games against the Titans, including the last three.

Meet the Titans

It's been a frustrating season for the Titans with a pair of three-game losing streaks killing any chance of contending for a playoff spot. Tennessee has won just two of its last seven games, with the two wins coming in narrow fashion against 4-11 Oakland and 4-11 Jacksonville.

Playing much of the season without Jake Locker hasn't helped, but the Titans have struggled on both sides of the ball. Tennessee is 21st in offensive yards per play and 20th in points per play. The Titans are 15th in yards per play allowed and 21st in points per play allowed. The Titans have been good on third downs and in the red zone, but are mediocre to below average in most other categories.

While Tennessee is an average defense in most areas, it has done a very poor job of stopping teams once they get into the red zone. The Titans have allowed a touchdown on 64.6 percent of opponent red zone possessions, fourth-worst in the NFL.

Meet the Texans

Following a 2-0 start, which included two come-from-behind wins, it's been all downhill for the Texans. Houston enters the final week of the regular season riding a 13-game losing streak. Gary Kubiak has been fired, and to make matters worse, the Texans have been ravaged by injuries.

Houston could be down to its fifth-string running back on Sunday with Arian Foster and Ben Tate on injured reserve. The Texans averaged just 3.3 yards per rushing attempt last week. They are second-worst in the NFL, averaging .26 points per play. That's down from .37 points per play last week. The Texans have been even worse lately, averaging .17 points per play over the last three games, by far the worst in the NFL.

Defensively, the Texans are 13th in the NFL in yards per played allowed. The Texans, however, have been terrible in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on a NFL-high 67.4 percent of possessions. Houston is third-worst in the league, allowing .45 points per play.

Local Takes: Tennessee

The game doesn't mean much this season, but Josh Gunnels of Music City Miracles wrote it could be a step toward building in the future:

The first step to making the playoffs is winning your division games and showing you know how to handle the teams within the division. If the Titans can do the same thing as last weekend, Mike Munchak may be able to point to two division wins in the style he envisioned all along. While it may be too little too late, it's better than not being able to do it at all.

Local Takes: Houston

The quarterback situation in Houston is a mess. Battle Red Blog made a case for starting T.J. Yates this week:

If Case Keenum is healthy enough to play, odds are that he gets the start against the Titans in accordance with Bob McNair's earlier directive (unless Bob feels like he's now seen enough to conclusively determine what Keenum's role on this team should be entering next season). If Keenum can't go, however, why play Matt Schaub over T.J. Yates? Matt Schaub will not be a Houston Texan next season. Frankly, you could make a reasonable case that Yates should start on Sunday in Nashville regardless of whether Keenum is healthy or not.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Music City Miracles and Battle Red Blog, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

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@jwyattsports -- Titans writer

@StephStradley -- Texans writer


Tennessee is a unanimous choice among SB Nation's experts with all five picking the Titans to win.


The Titans opened as 6-point favorites with the total set at 43.5, according to

Next Week

Both teams will be at home watching the playoffs next week.

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