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Three And Out: Falcons-Texans Predictions

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The BRB staff gathers to predict Houston’s match-up with the Atlanta Falcons.

Carolina Panthers v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texans got themselves in a whole heap of trouble after dropping a game they should have won to the Carolina Panthers 16-10 last week. With a Week 6 beating match-up on the horizon with the Chiefs in Kansas City, the Texans will have to find a way to get past Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Let’s see how the BRB staff sees this one going:

Tim: Texans 28, Falcons 24.

Am I basing this prediction primarily on the pattern of the Texans playing well every other week thus far in 2019? Maybe I am, and MAYBE I AM.

Kenneth L.: Falcons 24, Texans 21.

Another game decided by one score. The Texans will get out early in front of the Falcons but will wear out in the fourth quarter as Julio Jones embarrasses the Texans’ secondary. Expect Matt Ryan to attach several of the weaker secondary players, such as Lonnie Johnson Jr.

This game has had zero hype to it since we lost to Carolina. The season feels flat and the fans could use a good win, but this is not that game.

Who knows who will start at the offensive line? We have yet to have the same players start in back-to-back weeks. Continuity is at a 0% right now and the Texans have no idea who is picking up who on each blitz. The Panthers unveiled some embarrassing tendencies this offensive line has in failing to understand the blitz. Part of me is thinking that Watson cannot call out coverages well, but maybe that is just a piece of this. The Falcons do not have as many stud pass rushers as the Panthers did, but anyone can look good against our team.

Capt Ron: Falcons 28, Texans 16.

There is zero evidence to support any expectation that Bill O’Brien will have the Texans ready to play at home this week against Atlanta. The other two home games this season were lackluster performances, so it is fair to assume OB and the team just stay at home all week watching reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” instead of preparing for an NFL game. Never mind the fact that O’Brien can’t seem to design effective offensive plays to take advantage of the talent he has acquired. I refuse to invest any significant time, emotions or money into a franchise like this until someone more capable arrives to lead these players to the greatness they and the fans should expect. Cal and O’Brien can suck it!

Meanwhile, the Falcons will be looking to redeem themselves from their last visit to NRG Stadium, where they blew it against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. By the time Sunday is over, the Texans will be 2-3 and we’ll all be asking the same questions we have been asking now for six seasons about O’Brien’s ineffective offense, terrible game management, his persistent yearning for one-possession games (win or lose), and how the team should do better with so much talent.

/Yawn

//Go Astros!!

Matt Weston: Texans 31, Falcons 26.

Have you watched the Falcons play football? If you haven’t, don’t. If you have, I feel so sorry for you and me. I’m sure there’s a group at the YMCA we can join to go through the grieving process together. Matt Ryan has lost his mind and has no idea how to play against the interior pressure he’s dealing with. They forget Julio Jones is on their team until they are down by 17 points. Devonta Freeman can’t make anyone miss and can only run in straight lines. The pass defense is terrible now that Keanu Neal is out for the year, again. Vic Beasley rushes too wide, has only one move, and his pass rushes don’t matter.

Let’s try to say something nice. Damn. The run defense is fine because of Grady Jarrett, Allen Bailey, Takkarist McKinley, and De’Vondre Campbell. Kaleb McGary is 100% a right tackle and redirects edge rushers with strength alone.

Houston scored ten points last week. If they score less than 21 against the Falcons on Sunday, start gathering wood and kindle for the pyre. As long as the Texans throw the ball a lot, they shouldn’t have any problems, even if Julio Jones takes off for like 175 yards.

TexanRevJ: Texans 28, Falcons 24.

Will Bill O’Brien have his team ready to play this week? I feel like I have to ask that question every week, and it’s gotten old. Last week the Texans looked flat and could never find a rhythm. I’m hoping this will turn into a “get-right” week, but there is almost no way to know what to expect. The Texans win games they should lose and lose games they should win. Honestly, please don’t bet on this team unless you have a serious desire to see your money disappear.

The good news is that the Falcons’ pass rush is anemic. They have five sacks on the season and are tied for the 25th best pass rush. Houston’s offensive line should, I repeat, should be able to handle that and keep Deshaun Watson upright this week. After the beating Deshaun took last week, I would expect the game plan to have some short, quick timing routes to get the ball out of his hands quickly and get him into a rhythm so that the deep shots have a better chance of succeeding. I’m looking for DeAndre Hopkins to show out big this week. He’s been rather quiet since Week 1, but he’s a good enough talent to turn it around at any point.

The bad news is the defense has to cover Julio Jones for four quarters. Jones has four TDs this season and the Falcons have the second best passing offense in the league, averaging 312.5 yards per game. If Whitney Mercilus, D.J. Reader, and J.J. Watt can have effective days rushing the passer and put some pressure on Matt Ryan, that would go a long way toward securing the win.

I think this game ends up like all the other ones this season, going late into the fourth before a winner is decided. I like the Texans in this one, but don’t hold me to it.

BFmf’nD: Texans 23, Falcons 27.

Who the kitten knows with this team?

By DVOA, these teams are incredibly even matches: ATL is 21st in ODVOA and HOU is 22nd while ATL is 16th in DDVOA as HOU is 13th. The Texans’ offense is ranked far worse than it should be, and the Falcons’ defense is ranked far better than it should be. That said, the Falcons are a pass-first team, if not all the time, and the Texans struggle against the aired football.

This game could go either way, but considering the Texans can’t win games where they don’t score more than about 24 points, edge to Atlanta.

Mike: Falcons 31, Texans 24.

Matt Ryan is on fire right now. The Texans’ secondary is the exact opposite. This year, Ryan is averaging 331 passing yards per game. The Texans’ defense is giving up 363 total yards, which ranks them 17th in the NFL at this point. Chances are Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are going to torch the Texans’ secondary, and it will be up to Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins to keep the Texans in the game. If history is any indicator, Bill O’Brien will mismanage the clock, lose a challenge at a crucial moment, and call plays that get Watson sacked a bare minimum of five times.

Please use the comments below to make your predictions, and above all else - enjoy the game!