Welp, Monday night went almost exactly as I expected it to go. Houston is now ready to hit the halfway point of the season before taking an off week to assess what has gone right - and what has gone horribly, infuriatingly wrong. For a squad over .500, this team obviously has a lot of issues, but a win against the Lions would put them at 5-3, which looks a hell of a lot better than their play has felt.
Let’s get to the predictions...
Chris: Lions 26, Texans 19.
I feel like I say this every week, but I continue to be in “wait and see” mode with this offense, and really this team in general. Matt Stafford has suddenly found himself, and as bad as this Houston offense is, I’m still concerned about the defense with the injuries that have piled up. The real question is - regardless of what happens in this game, how will Bill O’Brien use this bye week to make some real changes and get the offense in gear? Or, um... to start moving toward putting it in gear. Baby steps, folks.
Luke Beggs: Lions 31, Texans 15.
I think from here on out, the preface for all of my predictions is going to be ''Unless Brock Osweiler or this offense decides to play well, this is whats going to happen''.
The Lions have a pretty good offense ticking along with Jim Bob and Matt Stafford, which I think will carry them away from the Texans.
Mike Bullock: Lions 31, Texans 12.
I really want to be wrong, but have yet to see anything out of this offense that shows they can put together a complete game anytime soon. The defense will finally get so exhausted from being on the field for 20 minutes of each half that they crumble in the late third quarter and give up three touchdowns to a hot-handed Matthew Stafford as the patchwork secondary hopes to keep a lid on it.
Matt Weston: Lions 28, Texans 24.
Here's the thing. Every Lions game has been a one possession game. Even in that first half blowout against Green Bay, they still managed to come back and make things box score close. They have the worst passing defense in the NFL this year. Their corners have been awful. Their linebackers are among the worst in the league in covering RBs, TEs, and play-action. No matter how bad Houston's passing offense has been (it's the worst in the NFL), they should still be able to move the ball through the atmosphere. If Brock Osweiler doesn't do anything with these outside receivers against this defense, I'm done.
On the other end, the Lions have a quick passing, high pace offense. They are going to do the Kansas City thing except with a top ten quarterback. They are going to dink, dunk, throw screens, and get Marvin Jones and Golden Tate III in space. The Texans have covered well this year, but the secondary and linebackers have had problems tackling, and RAC's seven-yards-off scheme invites these types of throws. Houston won't be able to keep Detroit’s offense tied down to the 20 and below range.
It's going to be close, but Stafford > Osweiler. The Lions win.
BFmf’nD: Lions 31, Texans 12.
Before the season started, I had this game magic markered as a win. Now?
Until Bill O'Brien shows he can coach outside of the AFC South (and I get he beat the Chiefs and Bears earlier this season, but the season has changed a bit since then, has it not?), I see no reason to bet on him. Until Brockbottom can prove he's not the worst starting QB in the NFL not named #HoboQB, I'm not willing to bet on him, either.
Worst of all, our defensive is a walking MASH unit these days. No matter how well A.J. Bouye and Benardrick McKinney play, we are going to struggle even there at times.
Lions 31, Texans 12, because all Bill O'Brien does is kick field goals no matter the situation or deficit.
Capt. Ron: Texans 24, Lions 21.
I'm terribly concerned about how disconnected the offense is and how bad Brock is performing, but I attribute much of that to the limited practice time available (CBA) and the number of new players learning the system and each other. I'm also deeply concerned about the growing list of injured players, and that may ultimately ruin this season for the Texans.
However, I'm still of the belief that Houston will find their mojo, compete well, and improve each week. I haven't completely given up hope....yet.
Tim: Texans 23, Lions 21.
Based on what we’ve seen over seven games, it would seem like a relatively simple pattern for the 2016 Houston Texans is taking shape. If the Texans are at home against bad, average, or slightly above-average teams, they win. If the Texans are on the road, they lose. To flesh that last sentence out a bit more, I’m willing to speculate that when the Texans play bad or slightly below average teams on the road (they haven’t done that yet, as the Patriots, Vikings, and Broncos are all decidedly somewhere between great and above-average), they’ll beat those teams more often than not.
I consider the Lions to be a slightly above-average team. Frankly, they’re considerably better than I thought they’d be. As with the Colts, Brock Osweiler and the Texans’ offense have no excuse for not moving the ball against Detroit’s defense. If the Lions’ defense wasn’t as bad as it is, or if this game was in Detroit, I’d go with the Lions. But at home, against a woeful defense, I’ll go with the Texans in a close one.
Not too positive for the home team. Feel free to put your name on this one in the comments below.