NFL Week 13 odds: Houston at Tennessee

It’s a potential trap game for Houston on Sunday as the Texans could potentially clinch a share of the AFC South title with a win and an Indianapolis loss in Detroit. However, the Texans might overlook Tennessee with an eye toward next week’s showdown against New England. Houston will clinch a playoff berth with a win no matter what the Colts do.

Despite a wealth of injuries, the only player who’s guaranteed to miss Sunday’s game for Houston (10-1) is outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who has a serious groin injury. Reed’s injury opens up a starting spot for first-round pick Whitney Mercilus. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (hamstring) expects to play. Joseph missed the 34-31 victory over Detroit, and the defense allowed quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for 441 yards.

In his last two games, Texans WR Andre Johnson put together the best back-to-back outings by a receiver in NFL history. His 461 yards over two games topped Chad Johnson’s 2006 total of 450, John Taylor’s 448-yard back-to-back in 1989, and Jerry Rice’s 442 over two consecutive games in 1995. In the past two weeks, Johnson went from the 21st-ranked receiver in receiving yards to third behind only Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Indianapolis’s Reggie Wayne. While Johnson did start the season with a 100-yard game against the Miami Dolphins, he didn’t have another one until Week 9. In Weeks 2 through 5, Johnson caught a total of nine passes, and whispers of how much he had left arose. Johnson has been the Texans’ targeted receiver on 40.7 percent of the team’s play-action passes the past two games. In the first nine games, Johnson was the targeted receiver on 22.4 percent of the team’s play-action attempts.

The Titans (4-7) had an opportunity last week after their bye to put themselves within one game of the AFC’s final playoff spot. Instead they became the first visiting team to lose in Jacksonville this season, falling 24-19. Jake Locker is 32 of 61 for 383 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in two games since returning from a shoulder injury he initially suffered early in a 38-14 loss at Houston on Sept. 30.

In that Week 4 Houston win vs. Tennessee, Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson returned interceptions for touchdowns, and Matt Schaub threw two TD passes. Arian Foster also had a touchdown run for Houston. Even though the Texans were outgained 325-297 by the Titans they broke open a close game after halftime.

The Texans own one of the strongest run games in the NFL behind the strength and running skills of Foster, who is the NFL’s second-leading rusher. Their whole offensive philosophy is based on an effective ground game that opens things up for a play-action passing attack. With Tennessee struggling to stop the run consistently, we can be sure to see a heavy dose of Foster running behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.

WAGERWEB.COM OPENING LINE: Texans -6 (47) Check out current lines

TEXANS NOTES: With win, would set single-season record for most wins in Texans history (10 in 2011). Club is 5-0 on road in ’12 … QB Matt Schaub is averaging 421 passing yards in past 2. In past 15, Schaub is 14-1 with 24 TDs vs. 10 INTs & 97.5 rating. In past 7 vs. Ten., Schaub is 5-2 with 15 TDs vs. 1 INT & 106.9 rating … RB Arian Foster aims for 6th straight game with 90 rush yards. Foster (1,064) needs 136 rush yards to reach 1,200 for 3rd consecutive season. Posted 22nd 100-yard rush game of career last week. Club is 16-6 (.727) when Foster has 100 rush yards. Since ’10, Foster has 38 rush TDs, most in NFL … WR Andre Johnson has 9 career TD rec. vs. Ten., most vs. any opponent. TE Owen Daniels has career-best 6 TD rec. in ’12 … DE J.J. Watt had career-best 3 sacks last week. Watt (14.5) surpassed Mario Williams (14 in 2007) for most sacks in season in Texans history.

TITANS NOTES: Are 7-3 at home against Texans … In 2 career starts at home, QB Jake Locker has completed 52 of 74 (70.3 pct.) for 607 yards with 3 TDs vs. 1 INT & 102.7 passer rating … For career, RB Chris Johnson averages 93.6 rush yards per game against Hou. (842 in 9 games). Johnson (942) needs 58 rush yards to reach 1,000 for 5th consecutive season. Has 24 career games with at least 125 rush yards, 2nd-most in player’s 1st 5 seasons in NFL history (Eric Dickerson, 27). Has 5 career rush TDs of 80 yards, most in NFL history. Aims for 7th straight game with 100 scrimmage yards … WR Kenny Britt had 128 receiving yards in last game vs. Hou. (12/19/10). WR Kendall Wright leads NFL rookies with 48 catches .… Since 2011, TE Jared Cook has 1,211 receiving yards, 3rd-most by AFC TE … Defense posted season-high 7 sacks in Week 12 … Rookie LB Zach Brown posted career-best 2 sacks last week … DE Kamerion Wimbley (47) needs 3 sacks to reach 50 career.

WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Over is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings in Tennessee. Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings. Texans are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Favorite is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Home team is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

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