When Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney compared Deshaun Watson to Michael Jordan prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, where Watson would get passed over by nearly a dozen needy teams, a lot of people scoffed and snickered. Now, nearly two years later, while not the bragging sort, Dabo is probably thinking to himself “How do you like me now?”
Having played his entire professional career behind arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL, Deshaun Watson leads the league in sacks taken. While he has a tendency to hang onto the ball too long, he also has some magic up his sleeve. Despite the line’s inability to open rushing lanes for the running backs, despite their inability to prevent opposing defenses from getting five steps into the Texans’ backfield faster than Watson can, despite having to field his backup’s backup, Joe Webb, as his WR3, Deshaun has found a way to drag this team, sometimes kicking and screaming, to the #2 seed in the AFC Playoff race.
Most of the Texans’ wins haven’t been pretty, and the losses have all been ugly, but when Watson is on his game, he’s proven to be unstoppable.
Maybe the Texans should bring in Mercy Me to sing “I Can Only Imagine” as the their intro song before the next kickoff at NRG Stadium as we all dream of the day Watson, J.J. Watt, and DeAndre Hopkins hold up the Lombardi Trophy while standing behind an All-Pro offensive line.
Or, maybe, just maybe, the Texans do it this year.
The Texans have never been closer to a playoff bye than they are right now. In fact, if they can beat the Eagles and Jaguars over the next two weeks, they’ll have clinched the first bye in team history. Ugly wins or not, that’s something to get excited about.
And, ugly wins or not, the trio of Watson, Hopkins and Watt can find a way to beat anyone on any given Sunday. Sure, they don’t match up well against teams with star quarterbacks. Sure, they don’t have a great track record against the Chiefs or Patriots in the NFL Playoffs, having been ousted by both in recent years. But the ball has been bouncing Houston’s way this season.
Anyone with the ability to examine football teams would conclude Houston doesn’t match up well with anyone else in the AFC playoff picture. One could also argue Houston is only where they are due to a weak schedule. But the difference between winners and losers in the NFL is razor thin, and the winners often simply are the teams that find a way to win. With Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins – arguably three of the NFL’s biggest talents – Houston’s odds of success in the postseason should go way up. Most teams often only have one, possibly two superstars. Having a trio of them means if the Texans can get/stay healthy,if the offensive line can start functioning at a pro level, and if the team can continue to get some of the lucky breaks they had during the nine-game winning streak, a Super Bowl trophy is not only possible, it’s highly probable.
What do you think? Convinced Houston is going to crash and burn or do you think this year is THE year?