We’re only six games in and what a season it’s been. Barring a catastrophic end of the season, Houston Texans appear to have their proverbial ship righted. With an entire new organization, front office, coaching staff, and players, the team has renewed energy, creativity, and wins.
This positivity heading into the bye week leads us to our Group Think question of the week:
Houston is entering the bye week without a losing record for the first time since 2019. Houston’s remaining opponents have a combined record of 25-39 (.391). What are your predictions for the rest of the season and what is your predicted record?
If you had told me that Houston would go into the bye week at 3-3, I would take that in almost every scenario. They lost a game they should have won (@ATL), but won some games that honestly, they should have lost (@JAX). Yes, the fact that the rest of the schedule appears favorable based on remaining winning percentages of opponents sets up great for Houston to really surprise the league should trigger massive optimism.
Yet, these are the Texans we are talking about. Neither the defense nor offense is powerful enough to win games by themselves. The team must win with complementary football, with all components playing relatively well at all times. The O-line is shaky and injury-prone, as is the secondary. Also, when does Stroud hit the rookie wall? Perhaps the most dangerous opponent left on the schedule is CIN, who seems to be rounding into shape after its usual swoon. Otherwise, all of these games could be an actual coin toss. Still, I figured this team would be worth about 6-7 wins, and I’ll still hold to that. I see the team finishing 4-7 to end 7-10, but with a plus/minus of 2 on either end (i.e as good as 9 wins, but with as many as 12 losses).
I think the key is that going game by game and simply picking winners is brutally hard. If we are counting noses then I’d say they split with Tennessee and split the remaining games with Indy and Jacktown. That’s two more wins. I’ll say they split with rest of the NFC West. That’s 3-3. Then you get Cleveland and Cincy. That’s going to be tough. I’ll say this stacks up to 8-9 but I’d love to be wrong. So much depends on health on both sides and what happens at the trade deadline. Caserio definitely looks better for surrendering that pick and after what this rookie class has done so far. 9 or 10 wins wouldn’t be that outrageous.
When the schedule came out, I predicted, to my own surprise, that the Texans would finish with a 10-7 record. I immediately laughed this result off because the Texans were rebuilding.
But now the Texans are 3-3 and face a fourth place schedule and, somehow, I might have still underestimated their record.
The potential is there for the Texans to go 11-6 this year and make the playoffs. There is a legitimate case to be made for the Houston Texans making the playoffs with a rookie quarterback and coach and I can’t believe I’m saying these things publicly.
But I think I’ll stick with my 10-7 record and making the playoffs as division winners.
3-3 feels like both a miracle and a stepping stone. Being ‘proud’ to be a .500 ball club is utterly embarrassing, but considering all Houston Texans fans have been through it’s a welcome mediocrity. The team shows signs of promise with equally painful moments. There is simply no continuity across the defense; any play could be a big swing. The talent must develop on defense, which I think it can given the coaching staff, but there’s a lot of ‘oh no’ moments that better team will take advantage of.
Predictions? I think the run game for one finally takes off. Bye weeks are for mending patches, identifying weaknesses, and refocusing for the future. A more comprehensive run game will help Stroud. It will also help break up the exhaustion on defense.
I also think the offense will sputter overall in weeks 9-14. Teams will have enough tape on the team and will address some of the ways Houston is winning down the field. That will be when we really see what Stroud can do. How does he react to the league reacting to him? The game of chess.
Alright fine, you want an end of season record? Wins against Carolina, Arizona, New York, and at least one more divisional win. That’s 4 and takes Houston to 7-10 on the season. I can’t tell if it’s my 2013 Mac that is glitching or the stream of happy tears down my face to see Houston competitive again.