Do The Texans Have What it Takes?
You could say it has been a tale of two seasons for a lot of teams this year, but it’s hard to think of a team that fits the description more than Houston. Opening the season with 5 straight wins, they were on top of almost everybody’s power rankings. They’d scored 23 or more in all of their first 5 games and had allowed over 17 points just once (25 to Denver in a 31-25 win). Then a blowout loss to Green Bay brought the Texans back down. There was no question that the team was still playoff bound, but whether they were legitimately a title contender was up in the air.
Yet they rebounded perfectly, routing the Ravens 43-13, then winning 5 more in a row after that. But a Monday night game in New England gave Houston their second loss of the season, and they proceeded to lose 2 of their final 3 games after that.
It wasn’t just the fact that they’d closed out their season losing three out of four, it was how poorly they’d played in those three losses. After losing 42-14 to the Patriots, the Texans just needed to win two of their last three games to clinch a first-round bye. They took down Indianapolis at home in relatively convincing fashion at home, 29-17, but when Minnesota came to town, the Texans got absolutely blanked, 23-6. Arian Foster left the game about half-way through the third, but even before that he’d only gained 15 yards on 10 attempts and had lost a fumble. And Matt Schaub couldn’t get over the 200 mark on the day.
One week later, they faced those same Colts again. But this time around, the Colts came out on top, 28-16, dropping the Texans into the 3rd seed in the playoffs.
Last year, the Texans lost their second round matchup 20-13 to the Ravens and this year they’re at risk for another second round exit unless they can prove they belong with the league’s best. They’re 3-4 this season against teams that made the playoffs and even though that 9-0 against non-playoff teams makes that end-of-the-year record look awfully nice, it won’t mean nothing if Schaub and Foster and company can’t hold their own when the games matter most.
The Texans need to come out of the gates firing this Sunday, make their presence known on the scoreboard early. It’s unlikely the Patriots will be held under 20 points on their home turf, so if the Texans are able to make a game out of it, we’re likely to see a shootout in New England this weekend.