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Titans vs Texans: Keys to victory

The Titans (6-5) will attempt to end their three-game losing streak in this week’s divisional match-up with the Texans (5-6). After losing consecutive games on the road to Denver and Cincinnati, the Titans are hoping that a return to the friendly confines of LP Field will translate into a much-needed victory. 
The Titans will be looking forward to the possible return of Albert Haynesworth on Sunday. Haynesworth’s presence has been greatly missed as opposing teams have consistently taken advantage of his absence. His return to the lineup should equate to a better performance on the defensive side of the football.
The following objectives must be accomplished if the Titans are going to earn their 7th victory of the season against the Texans:
Improve red zone efficiency
The Titans’ inability to score touchdowns in the red zone is a curse that continues to haunt them. Currently, the Titans are ranked dead last in red zone touchdown percentage (30%), scoring only 12 touchdowns in 40 trips to the red zone.
Tennessee was able to win their first meeting with Houston in spite of their red zone deficiencies. In their thrilling 38-36 victory over the Texans, the Titans only converted touchdowns on two of their nine trips to Houston’s red zone. Thankfully, the Titans were able to escape with a victory as a result of an NFL-record 8 field goal performance by Rob Bironas. Maximizing red zone opportunities on Sunday would provide the Titans with an excellent chance of winning this contest.
LenDale White needs to step up
Prior to the Titans’ three-game losing streak, LenDale White was starting to display signs of becoming a legitimate NFL featured back. In three consecutive wins over the Texans, Raiders and the Panthers, White was able to reach or surpass the century mark in rushing yards. In the first meeting with the Texans, White carried the ball 27 times, gaining 104 yards while scoring a touchdown. During that three-game span, White averaged over 25 carries a game while rushing for 337 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Over the course of the last three games, White has only rushed for a total of 81 yards on 29 carries. However, to be fair, at least part of the blame for White’s recent rushing woes should be attributed to the Titans’ practice of falling behind early in each of the last three contests. Large deficits forced the Titans to abandon their running game and to instead rely on the right arm of Vince Young to try to get them back into those games.
For the Titans to win on Sunday, White will need to snap out of his three-game slump and have an effective day running the football.
Play with a sense of urgency
It is now or never time for the 2007 Tennessee Titans. The team is currently one game behind Cleveland (7-4) for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.
December is the time of year that separates the contenders from the pretenders: at this point in the season, wins are paramount. A loss to Houston would serve as a crushing blow to the team’s playoff chances. Jeff Fisher’s squad must play with a sense of urgency on Sunday as they attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive.