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Three and Out: Vikings-Texans Predictions

The BRB staff assembles to predict the outcome of the Houston Texans’ Week 4 contest against the Minnesota Vikings at NRG Stadium.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
King Bill O’Brien looks over his um... Kingdom
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports



The stumbling Minnesota Vikings face the bumbling Houston Texans on Sunday from NRG Stadium. A depressed and downtrodden Bill O’Brien will mope his way onto the field trying to avoid going 0’fer the first quarter of the 2020 season, a couple days after Bradley Roby got this gem off, which should tell you plenty about the quality of coaching over on Kirby:

Man, it sucks that the Texans had such a short offseason while the rest of the league got the normal amount of time to prepare. Just really not fair at all.

Oh, right... the game. Yeah, let’s see how BRB sees it all playing out.

Tim: Texans 27, Vikings 24.

When in doubt, look to the quarterbacks. Deshaun Watson > Kirk Cousins.

As bad as the Texans looked against the Chiefs and Ravens, as impotent as they were in the second half against the Steelers, there’s plenty of time left for the Texans to make a run. Many of the players and coaches on the current roster did just that in 2018 after starting 0-3. It can be done. It will be done.

After all, the Texans wouldn’t want to make my preseason prediction of a 1-3 start look foolish followed by a division title look foolish, right? RIGHT?

Chris: Vikings 27, Texans 23.

Until the Texans stop the run, I won’t believe they can. Until the Texans pass block, I won’t believe they can. Until the Texans stop tipping plays or giving tendencies that allow defensive coordinators to fire blitzing DBs straight at the hole where the RB ends up running, I won’t believe they can. Until the Texans work more blitz-beating hot routes into their game plan and take advantage of the abilities and athleticism Deshaun Watson has, I won’t believe they can.

The Texans are a bad football team. They’re bad. What do they do well? Cover kicks and punts? Their pass defense stats are decent, but that’s a product of their inability to stop the run. Bill O’Brien lost me when he traded Jadeveon Clowney, and every game that passes is another game closer to his firing - whether it’s this season, next, or ten seasons from now.

Matt Weston: Texans 31, Vikings 27.

The Texans have the better quarterback this game, and that should be the difference. If they don’t win down the sidelines with Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller against Holton Hill and the gang and get the ground game going on Sunday against the Vikings, move the team to Memphis and start over again in 2030.

bfMFd: Vikings 34, Texans 19.

Do I think the Texans WILL lose on Sunday? No, not really. Do I want them to lose on Sunday? Oh, hell to the yeah. The quicker B3B gets fired, the sooner I am optimistic for this franchise.

That said, it’s still a tough match-up. Kirk Cousins hasn’t been nearly as good as I thought he’d be in Minnesota, but he’s got some great skill position talent around him. I could easily see the score I proffered up above as the end result, especially with all of the speed on the Vikings’ offensive side of the ball.

On paper via Football Outsiders, these teams are fairly evenly matched. By defense DVOA, HOU is ranked 26th while MIN is ranked 19th. Offensively by DVOA, HOU is pathetically ranked 21st while MIN is 23rd.

Sunday’s match-up will be a battle of mediocrity. Hooray.

l4blitzer: Texans 26, Vikings 26.

Do not adjust your computer screens. No, it is not a typo. I am actually calling for this game to end in a tie. Why? Both teams are in somewhat similar situations. Both saw themselves as contenders in their respective conferences, but both also saw controversial offseason moves involving the trade of their top wide receiver. Both teams have gotten off to horrible starts. Both have faced teams that have a combined record of 8-1. Both teams have significant defensive issues, giving up yards and points at will. Both have offensive issues. Both teams look at this game as a must-win. A lot of similarities.

The last time the Texans faced 0-3, Game 4 was against Indianapolis. It went to overtime after the Texans blew a three-score lead. The game was near the final minutes, and had then-rookie head coach Frank Reich decided not to gamble, opting to play it safe in his own territory, the Texans might have gotten their first tie. Instead, the Colts failed, and the Texans gained enough yards to allow the game-winning field goal. Granted, past performance does not guarantee future success, but sometimes history rhymes just enough. Between BO’B and Zimmer, two coaches not very well liked by their respective fanbases, I could see either in the situation Reich faced (4th down in their own territory with OT winding down), just trying to avoid the loss as opposed to playing for the win.

The Texans have never beaten the Vikings, but the Texans have probably played the better quality opponents to begin the 2020 season. Both will go all out to avoid 0-4, and I think both teams manage to avoid that mark. These teams and head coaches continue to tick off their respective fanbases by tying.

Now, the success rate of teams 0-3-1 making the NFL Playoffs? A team did make the playoffs with a 1-3-1 record (1981 NY Jets), but they won Game 4. Assuming this all goes according to projection (and COVID-19 doesn’t ultimately shut down this game), both teams will have the chance to take up that challenge.

Mike: Vikings 35, Texans 31.

Both the Texans and Vikings share the total inability to stop the opponent’s passing game, but they make up for it with very bad run defense. Combine that with Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Brandin Cooks, Adam Thielen, David Johnson, and Dalvin Cook, and Houston will finally play in a game that isn’t totally lopsided.

But Mike Zimmer makes better coaching decisions in his sleep than Bill O’Brien does when the game is on the line, so expect Houston to have the commanding lead late in the game only to lose it in the closing minutes due to terrible play calling, an ill-fated challenge, and yet another 4th and 1 play call we all regret.

0-4, here we come.

Joe: Texans 35, Vikings 28.

Okay, so last week’s game against the Steelers sort of broke my optimism for the season. I was certain the Texans were gonna win that game and prove to everyone they’re legit, or that they could win a football game, and they did that...for two quarters. Everything I hoped and dreamed for this offense revealed itself in the first half, immediately dashed away in the second half. I don’t think it was some defensive genius by Mike Tomlin or the Steelers balling out in the second half; I think the Texans lost it themselves. They had the recipe for success and completely ditched it in favor of losing. I don’t even know what to think anymore. I know O’Brien has a history of bad coaching decisions, but man, that Steelers game was up there.

I think that terrible coaching will continue on Sunday. My optimism has been deflated exponentially since last week. The Texans will by all means look like the better team, play better, and deserve to win. But we will still offer the Vikings plentiful chances to take the lead with more and more conservative playcalling, allowing them to turn this game into a mess. The Vikings have been just as bad and directionless as us, with a quarterback that, unlike ours, cannot bail them out. Kirk Cousins is gonna miss a few open throws or throw an interception or two that’ll finally force Bill O’Brien to swallow a win for the first time since January. The Vikings’ rush defense is also bad, so David Johnson should reach that coveted three yards per carry average.

This is an example of two teams that had their shot last year, blew it, and are now falling apart due to talent loss and coaching ineptitude. The Texans win this round exclusively because of more established talent and Deshaun Watson, but last week taught me that O’Brien and Tim Kelly won’t hesitate to rip the ball out of his hands. If that happens again, and we lose because of that again, I give up. Miami will get another top 10 pick and Houston will enter truly murky waters with no clear way out.

Carlos Flores: Vikings 28, Texans 21.

This is going to be a long game. The Minnesota Vikings are proud owners of a top 10 rushing offense, while the Texans’ offense is currently MIA. Not to mention that the Texans are currently the worst run defense in the entire league.

We’re going to get outside zoned to death and I couldn’t be happier about it. Our only hope is that the offense starts clicking, but I have no faith in that happening. We’re going to struggle, sputter, and eventually keel over as the defense is grounded into a pulp.

I love Gary Kubiak and would welcome him into my home. Looking at this game through nostalgia goggles, I can’t help but pull for him. Taking them off and putting my homer shades on, all I can see is red over how this team has been managed. I want this team to get better, and that won’t happen till BOB is gone. Go Texans.

RJ: Vikings 21, Texans 24.

If I check my script, now is about the time the offense will look competent. They won’t put up a 50 burger; that will come against the Jags or Titans in a week or two, but they will actually eat some clock and allow an over-performing defense a bit of a reward. I think classic to Kubiak offenses, the Vikings will do the same and two fairly competent offenses (this week, anyways) will keep this a low-scoring game with a few long drives burning the time off the clock. Overall, in crunch time, I think Deshaun will force his team over the finish line and not fall to 0-4.

If nothing else, you would expect this to be a hard-fought, hopefully entertaining game considering the loser is almost certainly not going to make the playoffs. Use the comments section to predict the game, and above all else - enjoy football while we have it! You never know when the Tennessee Titans will start a Covid outbreak that could ultimately destroy the entire season.

Good job, Titans. Good job.