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Texans Face Critical Stretch Before Bye Week

Texans face Colts, Raiders, and Jaguars

NFL: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

All of a sudden, the Texans can block opposing pass rushers, have an arsenal of weapons for QB Deshaun Watson, and are sitting pretty at 4-2. The media hype-train is leaving the station after an upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs and could well be at full throttle if the Texans win this Sunday in Indianapolis.

For a brief moment, all is right in the world for Texans fans. You can almost hear a harmonious “ohm” sound from NRG stadium as many of the doubters and detractors fade away. Yet the Texans organization cannot rest nor meditate on their victories as on the horizon stands three critical games before the bye week.

The Texans play at Indianapolis, against the Raiders, and at Jacksonville in London. Not only are the Texans away for two of the next three games, both of those away games are against division rivals. Much like a college football rivalry, in a NFL division matchup you can almost always through out the record book. It’s the team that shows up that matters. See the Miami Dolphins upset over New England last year for example.

Yes their combined record is 8-8, but if the Texans can get through this patch of games with a winning record they are well equipped to make a playoff push for the rest of the season. Not only that, they will most likely get a couple players back from injury in Bradely Roby, Jonathan Joseph, and potentially one of the injured TEs Jordan Thomas or rookie Kahale Warring.

One player the Texans will surely miss during this stretch is rookie offensive tackle Tytus Howard. Howard has suffered an injury to his MCL, which means he will be out for most of the remaining season. I’d be hard pressed to see the Texans rush him back considering the investment the team has placed in him. The Texans face several up and coming sack artists in Josh Allen, Darius Leonard, and Maurice Hurst and could certainly use Howard’s help to contain those guys.

Bradely Roby’s “significant hamstring injury” comes at a rather unfortunate time. The Texans brought him in almost purely to guard TY Hilton. With Jonathan Joseph also recovering from both wrist and hip injuries, the Texans will most likely be placing rookie Lonnie Johnson against the Texans’ kryptonite. Teams have picked on Johnson in the past, which inherently terrifies me for next Sunday’s game.

Other main pass catchers the Texans face are the Raiders’ TE Darren Waller and the Jaguars’ WR DJ Chark. Waller, the TE made famous from this year’s HBO series Hark Knocks, is the Raider’s best weapon and has been nearly unstoppable all season.

The Raiders upset the Colts two weeks ago in Indianapolis. A feat the Texans have only accomplished three times in their history. Though the 49ers are stealing all of the spotlight in the Bay Area, the Raiders are no slouches and are currently second in the AFC West. The Texans should match up well against the Raiders, but this game is not as predictable as once thought heading into this season. Even without Antonio Brown

Did you know there’s a live feed of the Raider’s new stadium in Las Vegas? Obviously it’s pretty boring, but the fact that the team promotes it on its side throws so much shade at its Oakland fanbase.

The Texans have never played in London while the Jaguars play there every season. It will be a true test of organization and preparation as the team crosses the pond to play the Jaguars. Get ready for an early morning as the game kicks off at 8:30 AM central, which for me on the west coast means a 6:30 AM start time. The Texans scarcely beat the Jags in Week 2 by one point and will look to continue their recent dominance over the division rival in Week 9.

The Texans could be anywhere from 7-2 to 4-5 heading into the bye week. If the Texans went 1-2 over the next three games, but that win was over the Colts, would you take it? Comment below!