Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged the importance of making intelligent decisions about how to approach a regular-season finale against the Tennessee Titans that holds no significance in terms of playoff seeding.
The 9-6 Texans have already been crowned as AFC South champions for the second year in a row, and their status as the fourth playoff seed is locked in no matter what.
It doesn't sound like O'Brien is inclined to alter his personnel decisions, given the circumstances much, if at all.
"We're playing to win," O'Brien said. "We're not even talking about that. We've got a chance to win 10 games. I don't know how many double-digit win seasons the Texans have had, but I think that's important. I think every game counts.
"Anytime you line up in this league, I think it's really just out of respect for the National Football League and football in general, you play to win. You know, we're going to go out there and do the best we can to try to win, and I think that it's a very difficult opponent, and that's what we're studying right now."
The Texans are hoping to fix a few things, particularly upgrading their struggling red-zone offense, heading into their last game of the season as they prepare for the playoffs with a new starting quarterback in Tom Savage.
"I think anytime you line up you play to win," O'Brien said. "I think that's what we're all about here with the Houston Texans. We'll be smart about it, we're going to go out there and do everything we can against a difficult opponent. We're going to go out there and play to win the game.
-- Although Miller is making progress in his recovery from an ankle injury, O'Brien was noncommittal on his status for the Titans' game.
The Texans could elect to hold Miller out for the second consecutive game to let him get healthier for the playoffs.
"I think he's feeling better," O'Brien said. "He ran before the game Saturday night. We felt like it was in his best interests not to play in that game. We'll see how he looks when we get back in here on Wednesday."
"I'm not sure," Miller said when asked if he'll play against the Titans. "It's out of my hands."
Miller acknowledged his ankle isn't a long-term injury and said, 'Of course," when asked if he could return as soon as next week.
-- Jadeveon Clowney was in hot pursuit of Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell, chasing after him and gaining ground for a few moments after reversing his charge once he was unable to get to quarterback Andy Dalton.
The slant on a pick play went for an 86-yard touchdown during the Texans' 12-10 win as safety Andre Hal and inside linebacker Max Bullough were unable to converge on the Lamar graduate. However, Clowney's effort left an impression on O'Brien even though the Pro Bowl defensive end didn't corral LaFell.
"It was a great design by Cincinnati," O'Brien said. "We had two guys on the same level in man coverage and they got picked off. They picked each other, and Brandon can run. It was a quick slant pass and he took off. That's the thing about our guys even though that was a bad play obviously. There was tremendous hustle on that play
"The guy to point to especially was Clowney. He was rushing in on the quarterback and turned around and ran and 90 yards, in his case, to try to chase the guy down. That's the tone they set in practice, those veteran players. We're going to rally to the ball 11 guys to the ball. And I think the younger players have taken to it."
Clowney was convinced he was going to catch up with LaFell.
"I did for a second," Clowney said. "I reached my top speed and he still picked up speed and I was like 'Nah, that's it, no more,' but I tried."
-- When the Cincinnati Bengals went after Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye, he was up to the task.
It was a familiar scenario that unfolded for Bouye as he recorded nine solo tackles and tied a career-high by defending three passes.
Bouye is a pending unrestricted free agent who's emerged as one of the Texans' most improved players and is regarded as an under-the-radar target for cornerback-needy teams. The former undrafted free agent from Central Florida has a career-high 15 passes defended along with one interception this season.
"He played, really, a good game," O'Brien said. "He's had a good year. He played well. He had some key pass breakups. He's doing a good job. He's a very focused guy. Can't say enough about the way he has played this year."