Titans Face Texans in Regular Season Finale

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is trying to complete a banner season by leading the team to its first division title in 12 years.

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The Tennessee Titans face a team that once dominated the AFC South, but is now in disarray in the Houston Texans Sunday as the regular season concludes. The Texans season has been a disaster, one that saw them fire Bill O’Brien as head coach/general manager Oct. 5. Romeo Crennel has filled in as interim head coach, but it doesn’t seem he’s going to get a serious shot at the top spot. The Texans recently interviewed former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, and they’ve also interviewed former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.

But the question many are asking is were these serious interviews, or just the Texans doing what’s required under the Rooney Rule, which is giving minority candidates interviews for vacancies as both head coach and general manager. The team has publicly said they are going to hire a general manager before hiring a head coach, and they recently decided not to request permission to interview any head coaches now currently employed prior to the season ending, despite a new rule that would allow them to do so.

Two of the candidates who’ve interviewed for the GM job are current ESPN analyst and former front office guy Louis Riddick, plus Matt Bazirgan, who’s now their director of player personnel. The Texans have wasted another sterling season for QB Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Will Fuller. There’s also the issue of whether they’re going to trade perennial All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who has expressed his frustration over the team’s fall from contention status.

The Titans just want to make it through this last game without losing any regulars. They’ve finally gotten cornerback Adoree Jackson back into the lineup, though he’s still only playing a designated number of snaps. The offense recently vaulted to the top of the NFL in points scored, and both Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown were voted to the Pro Bowl. Wide receiver Corey Davis and QB Ryan Tannehill also could easily have attained that status, as both have had outstanding seasons.

Some individual marks still within reason are 2,000 yards for Henry, the first 4,000 yard passing season for Tannehill, and also Corey Davis’ first 1,000 yard reception year. Brown also is within striking distance of 1,000 yards in receptions. But none of that is more important than securing the AFC South title and a home playoff game. None of that can happen if the Titans somehow get upset by the Texans.