NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If the Titans are going to win their fifth in a row at Houston Sunday it will come with rookie Malik Willis making his first career start at quarterback.

Veteran Ryan Tannehill was originally slated to be listed as questionable with an ankle injury, but was ruled out Saturday after falling ill Friday.

So, it’s go time for, Malik Willis, the Titans’ third-round pick, whether he is ready or not.

Head coach Mike Vrabel said Willis did well in practice this week in preparation for the Texans, “I thought he took advantage of his opportunities in trying to lead and function as our quarterback.”

Willis played a lot for the Titans in the preseason starting all three games.

Malik Willis Preseason Stats:

  • 28 completions
  • 51 attempts
  • 318 yards
  • 2 touchdowns
  • 1 interception

Regardless if it was Tannehill or Willis, expectations are to see a ton of Derrick Henry carrying the football.

Henry has averaged 227 yards rushing a game in his last three games against the Texans and the Texans have the worst run defense in the entire NFL.

NFL Rushing Defense:

  • #32. Houston- 164.7 YPG
  • #31. Detroit- 162.8 YPG
  • #30. Seattle- 149.7 YPG
  • #4. Tennessee- 96.8 YPG

With the Titans starting a rookie quarterback and with a banged-up receiving corps, the Texans will likely throw the kitchen sink at Derrick Henry and dare the Titans to throw the ball.

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The Titans 4-2 lead the AFC South while the Texans are dead last at 1-4-1.  

“The records in this league don’t mean anything.“ said Vrabel. “They have outscored opponents 99 to 79 through three quarters. They have been in a lot of football games.”

If the Texans can stop the run it will be an uphill climb for the Titans, if not Derrick Henry may start closing in on a third NFL rushing title.