National Football League
Preview
Houston at Tennessee
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 1, 2017
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

After beginning the season with quarterbacks that had plenty of fanfare, the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans will finish the campaign with backups-turned-starters Tom Savage and Matt Cassel under center. Savage will look to make more of an impact on Sunday as the AFC South-champion Texans attempt to tune up for the playoffs in their Week 17 clash in Music City.

While Houston is locked in as the conference's No. 4 seed, Savage is in need of reps as he heads into his second career start bidding to give the Texans a fourth straight win overall and sixth consecutive in the series with Tennessee. "You can't substitute that game experience," said the 26-year-old Savage, who has yet to throw a touchdown pass in seven quarters since replacing high-priced Brock Osweiler. "I've learned that for three years now. You got to go out there and you have to get the experience. I'm really looking forward to this weekend." Cassel relieved an injured Marcus Mariota (fractured fibula) and threw a touchdown pass in Saturday's 38-17 loss at Jacksonville and will face a stern test against Houston's top-ranked defense (305.7 yards per game).

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -3. O/U: 40

ABOUT THE TEXANS (9-6): Rookie Will Fuller reeled in seven receptions for 81 yards with a touchdown and exploded for a 67-yard punt return for a score in a 27-20 win over the Titans on Oct. 2. Fellow wideout DeAndre Hopkins was limited to his worst showing of the season - one catch for four yards - and has been held to three receptions or fewer in three of his last four outings. Lamar Miller (1,073 yards) rolled up 108 yards from scrimmage (82 rushing, 26 receiving) in the first meeting, but could give away to Alfred Blue after missing his second straight practice with an ankle injury.

ABOUT THE TITANS (8-7): After mustering just five victories combined in its last two seasons, Tennessee sees the beauty of recording its first winning season since 2011 should it avoid a loss on Sunday. "You can carry that momentum for the following season," said outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, who has a team-leading 10.5 sacks this season and recorded at least one in two of his last three encounters with Houston. "You've got to finish strong, you've got to finish on a high note so you can kind of just pick up where you left off." DeMarco Murray would love to do precisely that, as the 28-year-old has rushed for an NFL third-best 1,266 yards while two of his nine touchdowns came in the first meeting with Houston.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Houston DE Jadeveon Clowney has recorded at least one sack in three straight to increase his season total to a career-high six.

2. Tennessee's Delanie Walker (seven touchdowns) is one shy of matching the single-season franchise record for tight ends.

3. Texans S Quintin Demps had one of his five interceptions in the first meeting with the Titans.

PREDICTION: Titans 20, Texans 16
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Houston 9-6 W3 17.5 20.3 7-1 2-5 8-4 0-0 - - 7-4
Tennessee 8-7 L1 23.8 24.1 4-3 4-4 7-6 0-0 - - 5-6
Last Meeting
Houston Tennessee
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/2/16 TEN 20 HOU 27 359 115 244 320 124 196
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Houston B. Osweiler 67.6 254 2 2
Tennessee M. Mariota 44.8 202 0 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Houston L. Miller 19 82 4.3 0
Tennessee D. Murray 25 95 3.8 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Houston W. Fuller 7 81 11.6 1
Tennessee R. Matthews 2 82 41.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Houston W. Fuller 2
Tennessee D. Murray 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Houston B. Osweiler 59.6 2704 14 16
Tennessee M. Mariota 61.2 3426 26 9
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Houston L. Miller 268 1073 4.0 5
Tennessee D. Murray 282 1266 4.5 9
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Houston D. Hopkins 71 831 11.7 4
Tennessee R. Matthews 56 831 14.8 8
Touchdowns Player TD
Houston L. Miller 6
Tennessee D. Murray 12