The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans will battle at NRG Stadium on Sunday for bragging rights in the AFC South. While both appear destined to miss the postseason, the Texans have a slight glimmer of hope at 5-6. However, with quarterback Ryan Mallett out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back under center after sitting for two games.
Houston went 2-14 last season before hiring Bill O'Brien and drafting Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 pick in May. While the O'Brien hire seems a solid one, the drafting of Clowney has been a bust to this point. Clowney has dealt with knee injuries all season, limiting him to four games. In those contests, the former South Carolina star has racked up seven tackles. Offensively, the Texans rank No. 18 in total yards and No. 28 in passing despite having a formidable duo on the outside in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. Combined, Hopkins and Johnson have 1,470 yards and five scores.
In Tennessee, another first-year coach has struggled mightily to fix the Titans and their quarterback situation. Ken Whisenhunt has tried Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger, and all three have either been mediocre or terrible. Mettenberger, a 2014 sixth-round pick out of LSU, has shown flashes at times but has been inconsistent. Last week against the Eagles, Mettenberger threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. The Titans enter Sunday with a 2-9 record.
The spotlight will be on Fitzgerald in his return to the lineup. The Texans could have opted for fourth round rookie Tom Savage, but O'Brien believes Fitzgerald's verteran prescense gives the team the best chance to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. Fitzgerald enters the game with 11 touchdowns to eight interceptions and with a QB Rating of 87.1.
How to Watch
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
When: 1 p.m. ET
For more on the Titans, check out Music City Miracles.
To keep up on the Texans, head over to Battle Red Blog.