The Houston Texans (4-6) will attempt to make some headway in the AFC's tightest division when they kick off against AFC South foe Tennessee (5-5) on Sunday at noon CT at Reliant Stadium. Both teams are looking to end losing streaks that have nullified strong starts to the season.
Three of the Texans' losses in their current four-game losing streak have come by a touchdown or less, including the last two on the road in the waning seconds of the game. Last week, Houston erased a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Jets to take a 27-23 lead with less than a minute remaining. However, the Texans were denied victory when Jets QB Mark Sanchez threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 10 seconds remaining to extend Houston's losing streak to four with a 30-27 loss.
Tennessee suffered a similar outcome in a 19-16 overtime loss to Washington, surrendering a three-point lead it held in the fourth quarter before losing in the extra period.
The game will feature two of the NFL's top running backs in Houston's Arian Foster and Tennessee's Chris Johnson. Foster leads the NFL with 1,004 rushing yards, 13 total touchdowns and 1,389 yards from scrimmage. Johnson ranks second in the AFC and third overall in the NFL with 968 yards rushing. Houston and Tennessee both average 127.0 rushing yards per game to rank eighth in the NFL.
Two of the AFC's top pass rushers will also be on display Sunday. Houston DE Mario Williams is coming off a two-sack performance against the Jets and is tied for sixth in the AFC with 7.5 sacks. Former Texan DE Jason Babin leads the Titans and is tied for fourth in the AFC with 8.0 sacks.
Tennessee holds a 12-4 advantage in the all-time series but the teams have split their last four meetings. The last three games in the series have been decided by a field goal or less. Last year, both games were tied heading into the fourth quarter and ended with the visiting team taking home a three-point victory. Houston won at Tennessee, 34-31, in Week 2 last season before dropping a 20-17 decision to the Titans at Reliant Stadium on Nov. 23.
Sunday will mark the first of two meetings between the two teams in a three-week period. They will play again on December 19 in Nashville, Tenn.