I actually was in attendance the last time these two teams faced off. It was 2019 in sunny Los Angeles at the Dignity Health Sports Park amid an almost even Chargers-Texans crowd. The game was fantastic and the offense was nothing like what we have seen this season. I also ran into former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who to this day wish I said hello to. The Texans came out on top, 27-20.
Unfortunately, the BRB BrainTrust doesn’t believe that result will happen again. No, not one bit. A clean sweep of predictions tells all about how the Sunday game at NRG Stadium will play out.
Kenneth: Chargers 31, Texans 6.
I’m pitting a ton of fantasy football capital on this game. I swapped in the Chargers’ defense against the Texans in my semifinal match-up. I will also be in attendance at Sunday’s game, which will be both fun and a waste of three to four hours. But it will be fun to go with the pops.
Justin Herbert is third in the league in passing yards. Austin Ekeler is eleventh in rushing yards. Mike Williams has finally put up a full campaign and is probably the best WR2 in the game, maybe a tad behind Ceedee Lamb. Los Angeles’ offense is potent and knows how to threaten you deep. They are dynamic and methodical.
The Chargers also desperately need to win this game. They are 8-6 and sitting in sixth place in the AFC. A loss knocks them out of the NFL Playoffs. They do play the Raiders and Broncos to end the season, but I’m not too impressed with either teams’ play of late.
Houston’s offense will be without most of its best players. Or meh...just most of its players. Justin Britt, Tytus Howard, Lonnie Johnson, Eric Murray, Roy Lopez, and Jordan Jenkins scatter the offensive and defensive holes in open roles. Most importantly, Brandin Cooks will be missing. Expect rookie TE Brevin Jordan to see a ton of targets. Expect the Texans to not be able to move the ball down the field at all this week. If they do, their kicker is out.
Yikes. Maybe we shouldn’t go to the game?
l4blitzer: Chargers 29, Texans 12.
Provided that this game is able to go as scheduled (given that 20+ Texans are now on the COVID list, there is a case to be made for postponement), the Texans can’t rely on the incompetence of their opponent to help them win this round. The Chargers are deep in the playoff hunt. Their mindset might still be up for question, given how they blew a golden opportunity at home against Kansas City. Fortunately for the (forever San Diego) Chargers, the Texans will not have anyone the caliber of Travis Kelce at the TE position who could run roughshod over their secondary. Brandon Staley may not have to worry too much about going for it on fourth down.
Attrition due to COVID protocols has deprived this game of much of its already limited star power. However, for the Texans, the losses are that much more devastating, especially with Cooks and Fairbairn projected to miss the game. Davis Mills has somewhat improved from the incompetent mess he was earlier in the season, but he will not make anyone think of prime Matt Schaub or Deshaun Watson anytime soon. The Texans will have guys who will be on the field, but probably not much more than that.
Expect this game (if it still goes on Sunday, or even if it is flexed to another day the following week) to be an ugly, ugly affair. The Chargers have too much offensive firepower and will manage to pull away from the Texans. The Texans, forced to rely on some (at the time of this writing unnamed) kicker, will probably go for it more on fourth downs and go for two more often than not (or at least I would hope so...make it interesting for once). The Texans will find the end zone, but no points scored via a kick. Hopefully this game moves quickly, and we move that much closer to ending this lost season.
Matt Weston: Chargers 31, Texans 13.
If the Texans could run the ball like they always wanted to do, this game may be different. Unfortunately, they can’t at all whatsoever. Get ready for a lot of Davis Mills quick passes on 3rd and 6.
Justin Herbert is throwing deep again and will prove once again the Texans’ pass defense is overrated by the statistics, thanks to turnovers. Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson...it doesn’t matter; they’ll be able to compliment a deep passing game on the ground.
Mike: Chargers 38, Texans 17.
Justin Herbert is one of the NFL’s passing leaders this season and what better chance to catapult himself into the top three than facing a Houston Texans pass defense that’s already given up 3,267 yards against teams that rarely needed to pass against them? Who’s going to stop Herbert? Lonnie Johnson Jr.? Ha.
San DiegoLos Angeles decides they want to rest Herbert’s arm, Houston’s run defense hasn’t made it out of the locker room since D.J. Reader and J.J. Watt left the building. The Chargers have a bad run defense as well, but Houston is entirely incapable of taking advantage of that, as they’re the only team in the NFL who hasn’t topped 1,100 rushing yards this season. averaging just over 77 ground yards per game.
This will be another one-sided affair that further cements the picture that the 2021 Houston Texans belong in the same conversation as the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers as one of the worst teams ever fielded in the Super Bowl era.
Tim: Chargers 27, Texans 14.
If this game gets played on Sunday—and it shouldn’t, with so many players on the COVID list—it’s going to be awful. The Texans are going to be missing their offensive line and most of the starting defense. They’ll be playing guys who can’t normally see the field for a 3-11 squad.
The Chargers will be missing some contributors too, but not to the extent the Texans are. Justin Herbert is going to run wild.
What’s your prediction for the final score this week?