Houston had hoped to have Clowney back from a back injury suffered on Nov. 1, but it hadn't improved enough for him to play.
Cornerback Kareem Jackson also is inactive, missing his third straight game with an ankle injury. Kelvin Johnson starts in his place.
Otherwise, the rest of their starters are playing. Middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict had been limited in practice by a sore left knee, but is in the starting lineup.
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