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Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans Point Spread - Pick

Tennessee Titans (8-7 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (10-5 SU, 7-7-1 ATS)
Week 17 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: TEN -6/HOU +6
Over/Under Total: 46

The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in an AFC South battle in week 17 action from NRG Stadium on Sunday. There is a lot on the line for both teams and last Saturday, Houston was able to clinch the division with a big 23-20 win on the road over a streaking Tampa team. It is the fourth time in five seasons that the Texans have won the AFC South. Tennessee, meanwhile, saw their postseason hopes take a hit with a Sunday loss to the Saints, 38-28. They hung in there nicely, but were swallowed up by a really good Saints team, as the New Orleans offense was just too difficult to match in terms of production. But with the Steelers also losing, they remain in there with a shot.

For a team that started 2-4, the Titans are in a position where they control their own destiny. A win this week against their divisional rival Texans would get them into the postseason. It doesn't get any more clear cut than that. But they face a team that beat them on their own field two short weeks ago, albeit with the stakes more spelled out now. Houston, meanwhile, is in the 4-seed, poised to host a game on wild card weekend. They could move to the 3-spot with a win and a Chiefs loss on Sunday.

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We have a very recent matchup with these divisional rivals to look at with their week 15 game in Nashville. After getting off to a big lead and holding the Titans scoreless at home in the first half, the Texans had to hold off a late-surging Tennessee bunch to get the 24-21 win, a victory that allowed them to break a tie in the division and take control. A few Deshaun Watson picks helped keep the Titans in the game, but he also connected well with his receivers, with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller adding production, with two scoring catches from Kenny Stills. With Carlos Hyde adding over 100 on the ground, they had some good things happen on offense and look for a more-complete 60 minutes of football this week. Word that Will Fuller is lost for the time being, however, isn't what the Texans needed right now. And it wasn't like the Titans didn't have some success two weeks ago, as well, with Ryan Tannehill moving the ball late and Derrick Henry running well on the day. They hope some of the momentum they established late in that game carries over here.

Houston is showing some improvement and a spike in production just in the nick of time. They didn't have it easy on Saturday with a surging Tampa squad on the road, with it being their fourth win in five weeks. All season long, Houston has been dicey in spots. There have been a lot of close games, but their ability to pull those out lately could serve them well moving forward. They have balance on offense, but aren't that compelling either aerially or on the ground. But their balance and consistency is their strength, along with a deep package of targets for Watson to exploit.

When you look at Houston's defense, we see a lot of things that aren't becoming of a playoff-bound division winner. Their pass-defense is ranked toward the bottom of the league, while their run-defense is a bottom-half entity. Not having JJ Watt in there hurts, but it goes beyond that. They have some playmaking on this side of the ball. Five players have multiple interceptions on the season and other playmakers in the front-seven like Whitney Mercilus. It's a major hurdle to success and in the first game between these two teams, we saw the wide range with which this "D" plays. You never quite know what you're going to get. But with this defense, it certainly gives the whole a team a sense of vulnerability.

Tennessee deserves a lot of credit for still being in the mix. After changing their starting quarterback, it seemed like a 2-4 start to the season would be too much to overcome. In going 6-3 since, they have shown a lot of fire. Until being slowed with a hamstring injury that forced him out of action last week, Derrick Henry was on fire, carrying this team on his back, while a playmaking defense helped carry the load on the other side of the ball. Even in losing to the Saints, you could see how good of a team they are. They're not quite able to be consistent and bankable enough to be a real threat, but they're dangerous. Like Houston, their pass-defense suffers at times. But also like Houston, they can make a lot of plays, with Logan Ryan, Kevin Byard, an Malcolm Butler being very disruptive in a secondary that can change a lot of games.

With 20 TD throws against 6 picks and over 70% completions, Ryan Tannehill has been serviceable to say the least. He has connected well with AJ Brown, Corey Davis (questionable) and a pretty deep cast of targets, albeit without a real star. Henry is a huge part of this offensive attack and not having him in there or otherwise compromised would be a hard obstacle to overcome, though RB Dion Lewis was productive in relief on Sunday. After getting blanked until the third quarter in their first game, this offense will look for a more-complete performance this week in this tough divisional road spot.

The component of urgency can be overplayed in the final week of the season, as betting on teams based on who needs it more doesn't work out as often as one would think. And not that Houston doesn't have anything to gain, but the range of their fate based on this game is pretty minor compared to Tennessee. The Titans can win or they're in the playoffs. If not, they need some breaks. I expect that urgency to resonate on the field on Sunday, with the Titans earning the cover in Houston.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Tennessee Titans minus 6 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Titans vs. Texans game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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