Titans vs Texans Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Houston to Play Spoiler?

The Texans beat the Titans already this year but can do some real damage with another on Sunday, as Tennessee tries to clinch the bye in the AFC. Our picks highlight why Houston could give the Titans a scare — and cover the NFL betting spread.

Sam Farley - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Sam Farley • Betting Analyst
Jan 8, 2022 • 15:37 ET • 5 min read
Brandin Cooks Houston Texans NFL
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The AFC South division title isn’t in contention, but one thing is, and that’s whether the Titans can seal the first round bye. To do that, they’ll need to head into Houston and defeat the Texans.

Can the Titans finally beat the Texans this season or will they blow their chances of a bye? Find out by reading our NFL picks and predictions for the Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans.

Titans vs Texans odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Titans have moved from 11-point favorites to being just 10.5 favorites. Only a minor change but it is an indicator of money coming in on the Texans. The points total has also moved half a point, dropping from 43 to 42.5 points.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Titans vs Texans predictions

Predictions made on 1/7/2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Titans vs Texans game info

Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Date: Sunday, January 9, 2022
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Titans at Texans betting preview


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Key injuries

Titans: Derrick Henry RB (Out), Caleb Farley CB (Out), Teair Tart DT (Out).
Texans: Jordan Akins TE (Out), Chris Conley WR (Out), Vincent Taylor DL (Out), Laremy Tunsil OL (Out), Deshaun Watson QB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Texans are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games against teams with a winning road record. Find more NFL betting trends for Titans vs. Texans.

Titans vs Texans picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Tennessee Titans face the Houston Texans this Sunday, on the verge of securing a first round bye having already clinched the AFC South. Given that the team has spent half a season without its best player, Derrick Henry, that is a remarkable achievement and head coach Mike Vrabel is in my view the Coach of the Year. Others may have had more wins or done it in more style but I’m not sure those coaches could have walked into Tennessee and got this roster playing as Vrabel has.

For the Texans, this game is nothing more than one final chance to take a look at quarterback Davis Mills before making a decision on their direction going into next season. It also gives them a chance to get one over on their divisional rivals and scupper their plans for a bye.

Heading into the game, much of the talk has been around Derrick Henry, with the running back designated to return from IR. Whether we see him suit up is another question and even if we do, I don’t think the Titans would risk him too much. In Henry’s absence, the Titans have leaned on a committee led by D’Onta Foreman, a Henry-lite, Jeremy McNichols, and Dontrell Hilliard. 

The ground game hasn’t been damaged too much without Henry, they’re still performing well even if they don’t have quite his mix of explosion and power. Nobody sums up the Titans under Vrabel more than Henry but there could be an argument that the team has perhaps become more balanced without relying on Henry. Seeing how the Titans approach the passing game in the next few weeks as they reintegrate Henry into the team will be fascinating. 

 The Texans’ offense pales in comparison to that of the Titans. They’re weaker in nearly every position. They’ve averaged just 15.9 points scored per game, the third-worst record in the league, and the offense sits 31st in DVOA. Despite that, there have been some positives and Davis Mills has shown improvement each week. Is he the answer to the Deshaun Watson problem in Houston? Probably not, but I’d argue he deserves to find out.

Defensively, these teams are closer, with the Texans just nine spots behind in defensive DVOA and, as I’ve written all season, they’re sneakily good. They lack big stars and have very few splash plays but they’re solid and they’d no doubt be ranked higher if they had an offense that meant they didn’t have to spend so much time on the field.

A lot of people in the media are acting like this bye is already in the hands of the Titans but this Houston team isn’t to be taken for granted and comfortably outplayed the Titans on the road in late November, winning 22-13. The Titans should win but I’m backing the Titans to cover the spread.

Prediction: Texans +10.5 (-110)

I’ve praised the Texans’ defense as being underrated and in the same breath, I’ve explained that I don’t think they have an offense that is able to compete at this level. That should give you an indicator that I’m taking the Under here and expecting this to be a fairly low-scoring game. There were just 35 points scored when the teams met at the end of November and I’d expect to see something similar this time around.

We’ve got two good defenses and one poor offense, that doesn’t leap out as a game that we can expect to explode. The line has already moved from 43 to 42.5 and it could move further, so grab this price while you can. 

The Under is 4-0 in the Titans’ past four games and I’m confident that we’ll see that run extended to five games.

Prediction: Under 42.5 (-110)

We’ve heard plenty around Henry this week but as already mentioned, I’d expect him to be on a snap count if he even suits up at all. Henry is a fantastic player when he’s fit but it feels like a risk for the Titans to play him this week rather than giving him two weeks' rest if they were to secure the bye. 

Foreman, meanwhile, has played well since becoming the lead back in Tennessee. He isn’t a real stud but he’s more than capable of rushing behind this O-line and has rushed for over 100 yards in three of his past five games. I’d expect him to exceed his total this week.

Pick: D’Onta Foreman Over 67.5 rushing yards (-114)

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