The Houston Texans are coming off it’s second straight win and the vibes are better than a Los Angeles hype house in 2020. Houston fans must toil with the first glimpse of promising talent and a turnaround in half a decade while knowing that it’s fools gold to believe the team is ready to compete with the best.
Simply knowing they aren’t the worst team in the league is good enough for me, at least for right now. At 2-2, Houston is approaching the next four games of the season with new confidence. The schedule looks promising as well, which brings us to our next Groupthink.
Texans next four games are all against the NFC South: @Atlanta, vs. Saints, BYE, @Carolina, vs. Tampa Bay. What do you think our record will be after this four game stretch?
That might be the worst division in football outside of the AFC South. I’ll be optimistic and say 3-1. I can’t even say who we could lose to because I think we can easily beat each one. Yet, I could see us losing any of them too. For the life of me I can’t understand how the Falcons are favored this week. I never thought 5-3 would be possible coming into the season or even after week two but I’m feeling optimistic. I suppose having a quarterback would do that.
This is a tougher challenge than it seems. These teams, who are not all that strong, will not overlook Houston, which I think that both Jacksonville and Pittsburgh did to an extent. Carolina has historically been a bad, bad matchup for Houston, no matter who Houston has at QB. Stroud appears greater than Young at this point, but until otherwise noted, Houston will lose that one. I think the Texans can hold serve at home in that stretch, but Tampa Bay’s offense this season is arguably stronger than last season, as Mayfield is showing life as the starting QB, as opposed to the (well-preserved) corpse of Tom Brady last season. The wild card is Atlanta, Ridder is not a good QB, but Robinson is a running beast, and Arthur Smith is well versed at getting talented running backs to ground Houston’s defense into dust. I feel certain that the Texans won’t lose the bye week, but don’t put money on it. I could see 3-1 or 1-3 in that stretch, and no result, especially this season, would shock me.
Had you asked me this before the season, I might have given you the Panthers game, and that would’ve been conditional on how Bryce Young was doing. Right now, riding the wave of Texans confidence that I haven’t seen in close to ten years, none of these games scare me. In fact, there’s a solid chance that the Texans could go and sweep all four of these games and leap out to a previously unthinkable 6-2 record. Because what are we looking at here? A Falcons team that is Bijan Robinson and a bunch of whosafudges that got clocked by Jacksonville last week in London, a middle of the road Saints team that may or may not have Derek Carr, an out-and-out bad Carolina team and a Bucs team that isn’t much better than the Saints. These are all perfectly winnable games coming up so a sweep is not entirely out of the question the way it would be in the last four+ years.
All the NFC South team are weird and, besides Carolina, better than I expected.
Atlanta hasn’t had success with Ridder yet, but great success blocking, running the ball, and their defense is legit. But, I think Houston’s performances against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh showed their defense is solid, too, so I’d pick Houston to win this one.
The Saints, even though they gave up some yards to Baker Mayfield of all people, can be expected to have a pretty great defense. If Carr is healthy, their offense can be dangerous, too. But, if they’re giving up 3 touchdowns to Baker Mayfield, I like C.J. Stroud’s chances of doing even more damage.
Carolina is just bad. Again, Matt Rhule and now Ejiro Evero have led a solid pass defense, but that’s about the only good thing with this Panthers team. I just hope Andy Dalton doesn’t start against the Texans and make them look silly. This should be a win, but man does it feel like a trap game.
Tampa Bay is the one I feel the worst about. They’re defense is fantastic, their o-line is great, and their receivers are helping Baker enter a renaissance of his career. This will be the hardest game of the four, and, unless Stroud has a performance that puts him squarely in MVP conversation, I don’t think the Texans will win this one. So, if the Texans evade the trap game in Charlotte, they’ll go 3-1. If not 2-2 seems like the safe bet. 4-0 would certainly be sweet, but just a little too sweet for a Texans team still has to get better at blocking and running the ball. Still, the fact that 4-0 is a possibility is a miracle, and shows how far we’ve come in thinking about the Texans in just a few short weeks.
2-2 never felt so good. 3-2 would begin to feel a lot like Christmas. 4-2, well, at this point you may hear me yodeling from the top of NRG. All four games are winnable. All four games are equally, very losable. Houston’s most recent offensive production can outplay Atlanta, New Orleans, and Carolina. A Baker Mayfield-led Tampa Bay offense has more firepower than Houston’s, but they can be a fickle offense at times.
The reintroduction of Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard will be critical to the success of the next four games. Protecting C.J. Stroud is paramount, and at the top of that mountain is a weakened offensive line holding up their new QB. One would expect the protection to be all the better when these two tackles return, but. it’s unclear how they will play given their new injuries.
Overall, I expect us to split these two games. We lose to the Falcons and their talented running game, beat the Saints and Panthers, then lose to Tampa in a close game.