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    NFL notes: Texans turn control over to Case Keenum

    Third-string Texans quarterback Case Keenum will start Sunday’s game at Kansas City.
    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press/File
    Third-string Texans quarterback Case Keenum will start Sunday’s game at Kansas City.

    Case Keenum, who hasn’t played in a meaningful game since he was in college back in January 2012, will start at quarterback for the Texans this Sunday in Kansas City, one of the tougher environments in the NFL.

    Keenum will make his first regular-season appearance at Arrowhead Stadium, where the fans just set a Guinness record as the noisiest outdoor stadium in the world.

    Keenum will start for Matt Schaub, who is out dealing with injuries to his right ankle and foot, and will try to help the Texans snap a four-game losing streak.


    ‘‘We’re struggling, and we’re looking for a spark,’’ coach Gary Kubiak said. ‘‘I think he deserves an opportunity to go out there. It’s a tough place to play. It’s a tough place to get your first start and all that good stuff. But I’m not sending him out there by himself. I’m sending him out there with his football team and the guys understand that.’’

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    Keenum was a record-setting quarterback at the University of Houston before spending last season on the practice squad.

    Now he’ll face a defense that is allowing an NFL-best 10.8 points per game, leads the league with 30 sacks, and has forced 12 more turnovers this season than their opponents, which also tops the league.

    No question about Eli

    With an 0-6 record, Tom Coughlin is considering a lot of things to make the Giants better. Changing quarterbacks isn’t one. Coughlin dismissed any possible speculation about replacing Eli Manning for Monday night’s game against the Vikings (1-4), saying that the 10-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl MVP is the leader of the Giants offense. ‘‘He’s the guy,’’ Coughlin said Thursday. ‘‘We’re going to win again with Eli.’’ . . . The Vikings have ruled starting safety Harrison Smith out for Monday’s game because of turf toe on his left foot, an injury that may require surgery . . . Running back Adrian Peterson rejoined the Vikings on Thursday after missing practice to attend the funeral for his 2-year-old son, describing the situation as ‘‘devastating.’’ Peterson was in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Wednesday for the private service for the boy, Tyrese Robert Ruffin, who died last Thursday in a case of alleged child abuse.

    Vick makes way

    Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, still recovering from a hamstring injury, does not expect to play in Sunday’s game against Dallas. However, coach Chip Kelly has not officially ruled him out yet. Vick has practiced on a limited basis all week, while second-year quarterback Nick Foles has worked with the first team. ‘‘I don’t want to push it too much and just let things happen naturally. It’s going to be fun to watch. I look forward to watching Nick play,’’ Vick said . . . Injured Titans quarterback Jake Locker says he’s preparing to start Sunday against San Francisco. Coach Mike Munchak said the Titans are going to wait and see how Locker feels after a second straight practice before deciding who starts against the 49ers. Ryan Fitzpatrick is listed as the starter, preparing for his third game in place of Locker, who sprained his right hip and knee Sept. 29 . . . Patrick Willis, San Francisco’s All-Pro middle linebacker, plans to play through the pain for the second straight week after missing the previous two games. Willis has a sore groin and is still healing a broken bone in his right hand suffered during training camp.

    Falcons miss trio


    Receiver Roddy White (ankle), running back Steven Jackson (hamstring), and tackle Sam Baker (knee) missed another practice for the Falcons (1-4) . . . Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts, who has a sprained joint connecting the breastbone and collarbone, will likely be a game-time decision Sunday against the Chargers . . . Browns starting running back Willis McGahee did not practice Thursday because of an unspecified injury.