Heading into last week, all the Texans needed was a loss by the Tennessee Titans and a win or tie of their own against the Indianapolis Colts to secure their fifth AFC South Division crown. Some people were even speculating that Houston could jump into the #2 seed in the AFC playoff race – something that seemed nearly unthinkable at the end of the 0-3 start to the season.
Fans’ hopes rose. The national media actually paid attention to the Texans. Most of us started to pick up what Houston was putting down.
The Jaguars’ “all-star” defense coughed up a record setting rushing attack to the Titans, embarrassing themselves and anyone who had any faith in their team, on national television.
Things got a little tougher. Now the Texans had to beat the Colts and then simply win one more game to clinch the division and a playoff berth.
Out came the injury report, with holes in the offensive line, wide receiver corps, and question marks all over the place.
Pretty soon we were forced to stare in disbelief as a third string quarterback lined up as WR3, the offensive line went back to looking like it did during the 0-3 start, and the Texans’ defense appeared to sleepwalk their way through a game like a senior citizen newly arrived at a retirement community. While it’s hard to find video proof, it seemed like J.J. Watt was playing with the flu or some other malady that kept him from going 100%. The same can be said of a few other key players as well.
Houston seemed to fall back into place where they “belonged” with the also-rans. But if there’s anything truly different about the 2018 Houston Texans from the teams of years past, it’s their resiliency.
Take a look at the Texans’ last game against the Titans. Houston quickly went down 10-0 and looked as if they were going to get pantsed by the hated “Not-The-Oilers”. Instead of giving up or taking a victim mentality through the rest of the game, the Texans rose up and smashed the Titans 34-17.
This coming week, the Jets are on the menu. While Houston has one less day to prepare thanks to the Saturday afternoon kickoff, the Jets are ripe for the type of beatdown the Texans put on the Titans in the second through fourth quarters of the aforementioned game on Monday Night Football
With Houston focused on a seemingly unexpected high-seeded playoff berth, the Jets are aspiring to secure the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Should Houston win this week and both the Colts and Titans lose, Houston will clinch the division. If Houston can win out and the New England Patriots drop one of their last three games, Houston can still lock up the #2 seed in the AFC.
The current most likely scenario: Houston will still roll into the playoffs in the #3 seed, play on Wild Card Weekend, and face either the San Diego Chargers or Baltimore Ravens. Both are much tougher opponents than the Colts. Still, seeing Lamar Jackson face Deshaun Watson in the playoffs should make for some serious fireworks.
Either way, it’s time to turn the page and face the Jets.
What do you think is going to happen? Will Houston clinch the AFC South this week and be able to rest some players or will it come down to Week 17 heroics? Lay out your playoff predictions in the comments section.