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Three and Out: Texans-Cardinals Predictions

The Masthead gathers to predict Houston’s trip to face the Arizona Cardinals and some familiar old friends.

NFL: OCT 17 Cardinals at Browns
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Texans, dysfunctional in all ways, coming apart at the seams, with players speaking publicly about discipline issues. Oh, and in the midst of being a horrible football team, Houston visits the undefeated Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Luckily for the Cardinals, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt appear to fit their culture. At 6-0, the Cards are tearing up the league while the Culture Champs in Houston are just DOMINATING Culture while getting their heads kicked in at football.

Obviously, the Texans are about to run into a football buzzsaw. Still, the Cardinals better be ready to get the ever living **** kicked out of them by Houston’s incredible Culture. The final score may not reflect the upcoming Culture blowout, but we fans in our hearts will know that we out-Cultured the Cardinals and any other team in our way.

On the football side of things, let’s see how BRB feels this one will go down.

Matt Weston: Cardinals 49, Texans 3.

A year and a half later, I still can’t wrap my mind around the DeAndre Hopkins trade. Every aspect of it is absurd. The Texans turned DeAndre Hopkins into the Cardinals’ worst running back (they could have at least gotten Chase Edmonds back )and an effective pick swap that netted them Brandin Cooks and Ross Blacklock.

A year later, the trade is somehow worse. Hopkins is opening the door for A.J. Green and Christian Kirk to get single coverage against third and fourth cornerbacks. Kyler Murray is putting together a MVP caliber season. The Cardinals are Super Bowl contenders.

Ross Blacklock has one sack, having thrown as many punches as sacks this far into his NFL career. Last week David Johnson missed an easy cutback, dropped a pass, gave up a sack and a quarterback hit in pass protection, and fumbled the ball. He’s not even a running back anymore. He’s a wide receiver. His one run against Kansas City in the 2020 seasn opener is the only good thing he’s done in a year and a half here.

The hopefuls stated that by trading Hopkins for Cooks and Johnson, the offense would open up since Deshaun Watson would no longer be able to rely on one wide receiver. Watson is gone. Cooks has accounted for about 40% of the Texans’ receptions, targets, and yards. To recap, the Texans turned Hopkins into an interior rusher who doesn’t move the pocket and create easy rushes for exterior rushes, a running back who is now a wide receiver, and a tiny wide receiver who’s the entirety of the current passing offense. The Texans are in the running to pick first overall in 2022.

This trade changed both franchises. The Cardinals are the NFL’s best team after being gifted a top five wide receiver, while the Texans are in shambles, trudging through the swamp of Bill O’Brien’s previous terrible decisions. Against a top five offense and defense, with Hopkins and J.J. Watt able to get their revenge, the Cardinals are going to turn the lights out.

Tim: Cardinals 38, Texans 10.

J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins are going to have a lot of fun Sunday. Watt gets at least one sack of Davis Mills, and Nuk posts at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown.

In related news, look for David Johnson to rush for 24 yards on nine carries. Totally justifies the worst trade in modern NFL history, don’t it?

Go ‘Stros.

bfMFd: Cardinals 34, Texans 9.

Talk about a game between teams heading in completely different directions.

On one hand, you have the Cardinals, who have some young, great players at multiple positions. They’ve added veterans like a team in it to win it should like some guy named J.J. Watt. They are 2nd in Total DVOA, 7th in ODVOA, and 2nd in DDVOA. This team is all-around good in every way possible.

Then? There are the Houston Texans:

You’d think, with all the culture and process, the team would be better than 31st in Total DVOA, 31st in ODVOA, and 20th (and sliding!) in DDVOA.

The Houston Texans are an empty shell of a team, worthy of only b-side business school takes nothing else.

Sell the damn team, Cal.

l4blitzer: Cardinals 38, Texans 6.

We now come to perhaps the most interesting game on the Texans’ schedule, and what many might have thought would be a Thursday night game. All of the personnel subplots, from the worst trade in the modern NFL history to the first time that J.J. Watt goes against the team that first drafted him dominate the narrative. Watching one team on the rise and one that is…not.

Perhaps it is best that this game did not end up in the primetime slot, for the on-field match-up is about as ugly as you will find. Whether the Cardinals can maintain this hot start and not fold like last season remains to be seen. I don’t hold a high opinion of Kliff Kingsbury, as he somehow failed up into his current position, but he has a talented squad and he hasn’t screwed it up (yet). However, Kingsbury looks like the next Lombardi compared to David Culley. The Texans are a bad team talent-wise, but they are not helped by the low level of game management by Culley.

This has been highlighted by the team’s horrendous road performances. Outscored 88-10 on the road since they lost Tyrod Taylor at the half at Cleveland, there is not a lot of reason that the Texans can even hope to make this game quasi-interesting. Maybe the Cards overlook this team and the Texans catch them napping, but with Nuk and Watt facing their ex-employers, I am not sure that will happen. The Texans could score more than once on the road; anything more than that will be a bonus.

As for the defense…they might have a few moments and offer an early glimpse of hope, but with the Texans MIA on offense, the D will eventually break, with the end result being another road embarrassment for the team.

Mike: Cardinals 42, Texans 10.

The Texans have only scored 11 total touchdowns this season. The Cardinals have 23. Arizona is giving up an average of 18.1 points per game. Houston is only scoring 15.3 (and we thought Bill O’Brien’s scoring average was horrible). The Cards are scoring 32.3 points per game, and Houston is giving up 28.7.

Those stats equal a seriously lopsided affair, with the H-Town guys coming out on the losing end. This one might make the Buffalo Bills game look like a better outing for the Texans.

Expect J.J. Watt to do Watt things.

Expect DeAndre Hopkins to GO OFF.

Expect Davis Mills to play pitch and catch with the Cardinals’ defense.

Expect David Culley to say, “We have to do a better job” in the post-game presser.

One more game, one more loss, and one step closer to the 2022 NFL Draft.

So this one doesn’t seem likely to go in the Texans’ favor. But that’s the thing with the NFL, you never really know... except this time we kinda do. Go Culture! Victory! Glory!

Use the comments below to explain how Culture and Process will win the day against an excellent football team, or, you know, just go ahead and predict the game’s outcome.