With a 2-0 start to the season, and thus far being the only remotely impressive team in the division, things are starting to look up for the Houston Texans' playoff hopes. Let's take a look ahead at the Texans' upcoming schedule and see what kind of record we can expect to see when the team rolls into its Week 10 bye.
Week 3: @ New York Giants (0-2)
The Giants are in the midst of their annual early season slump. They're a team with a weak offensive line built around a solid but mistake-prone QB in Eli Manning. That's a weakness that a team with the defense and pass rush (read: JJ Watt-havingness) of the Texans should exploit with ease. Road game notwithstanding, this is a good match-up for the Texans and a game they should win.
Week 4: vs. Buffalo Bills (2-0)
The Bills moved to 2-0 after a convincing win over Miami on Sunday. I don't think they'll be able to keep up their winning ways throughout the season, but they do present some match-up problems for the Texans. They've got a very strong front seven that could force Ryan Fitzpatrick into some bad throws, and they have a secondary good enough to capitalize on those mistakes. That said, I'm not a believer in Buffalo's offense and E.J. Manuel in particular. I think home-field advantage makes the difference and the Texans come out with the win in a messy, defensive showdown.
Week 5: @ Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
This is not a good match-up for the Texans. The Cowboys have an offensive line capable of keeping Tony Romo clean, and they have offensive weapons in Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and DeMarco Murray that are likely to give the Texans' D fits. All that combined with home-field advantage for the Cowboys spells the first Texans loss of the season.
Week 6: vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
Andrew Luck aside, the Colts have looked pretty bad after two weeks. Luck isn't getting much help from his receivers and running backs on offense, and the defense has been ripped up (granted, they played two very talented offenses) the first two weeks. I like the Texans' chances of pulling out the win at home in their first divisional match-up of the year.
Week 7: @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
As inconsistent as the Steelers have been since the start of the 2013 season, I have a hard time pinning this one down. Jadeveon Clowney should be back, which will obviously help, but I'm gonna predict a win for the Steelers on account of a close match-up and home-field tie-breaker.
Week 8: @ Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Divisional road games are always tough, and this one should be no different. Jake Locker is a game-changer when he's healthy and the Titans have a pretty solid o-line that should do a good job of keeping him clean. As long as Locker is healthy, I think the Titans will pull out the win at home.
Week 9: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
This is another tough match-up for the Texans. The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in the league and a very well balanced offense that takes care of the ball. Their biggest weakness is the defensive secondary, which means we'll be relying on Fitzpatrick, Andre Johnson, and DeAndre Hopkins to carry the team to a victory in all likelihood. I'm not sure I like relying on Fitzpatrick to carry us to a win. I think this is definitely a game we can win. I just don't think we will as things stand today.
Predicted record heading into the bye: 5-4
Barring some sort of catastrophic injury situation, I don't think the Texans will be any worse than the 5-4 I predicted here heading into their bye. I could also see Houston being maybe a game better on account of some of these match-ups being pretty close, though I'd be surprised if they were any better than 6-3 after their first nine games of the season.
Even if they roll into their week off at 5-4, that's still good enough for the Texans to be leading the AFC South, and I can't imagine 5-4 through nine games would have them any lower than second and a game behind the division leader.
What are your thoughts on where we might be heading into the bye week?
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