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Case Keenum expected to start for Texans

Bill O'Brien isn't going to show his hand early.

The Houston Texans coach likely won't name his starting quarterback -- either Thad Lewis or Case Keenum -- until just before Sunday's contest with the Baltimore Ravens, so that John Harbaugh's team can't focus on preparing for just one quarterback.

It's a smart move for O'Brien, and the ambiguity advantage likely outweighs the splitting of his own reps in practice. Why give up information until forced?

However, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the team expected to start Keenum, per two sources informed of the Texans' plans.

"Just talking to sources involved in the situation it seems that Case Keenum -- who just a couple days ago was on the Rams' practice squad after being cut by the Texans early in the year -- it seems he is the favorite to start over Thad Lewis, who was brought in mid-year," Rapoport said on NFL Network's NFL AM.

The reasons for going with Keenum are simple: He is more familiar with the totality of the offense having played in it during the preseason and he knows the staff. He also has more upside at this stage than Lewis and would likely be a better option to exploit a shaky Ravens secondary.

Still it's always difficult to start a quarterback less than a week after he rejoins a team. While at this point the Texans are leaning toward Keenum, O'Brien is going to play this one close to the vest.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 16 game and recaps the Jaguars' win over the Titans. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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