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Three and Out: Texans-Dolphins Predictions

The BRB staff gathers to predict Sunday’s match-up between the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins in Deshaun Watson’s favorite place in the world.

Syndication: Palm Beach Post BILL INGRAM /THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK

Two significant changes to the Texans’ 2021 season are coming Sunday. First, QB Tyrod Taylor is back after missing several games with a hamstring injury. He and the Texans were playing better (in a tiny sample size that included the Jaguars) than anyone expected before he went down against the Browns. Second, Houston’s schedule will begin to get a whole lot easier.

For those of you clamoring for the Texans to lose every game to improve their draft position, buckle up. Let’s see how the BRB staff predicts Houston’s trip to Miami will turn out.

Tim: Dolphins 17, Texans 14.

I’d probably reverse the teams and keep the score if this game was being played at NRG Stadium. You know, because the din at the home of your Houston Texans is so deafening this year.

As disappointing as they’ve been, the Dolphins still have more talent on their roster than the Texans. Although Tyrod Taylor’s return should provide some juice and, you know, an actual meaningful offensive touchdown or two, give me the home team in a squeaker.

I’ll also predict Ka’imi Fairbairn misses another field goal—and this one will actually matter in terms of the final score—yet suffers absolutely no consequences for his lackluster performance.

Matt Weston: Texans 27, Dolphins 20.

The Dolphins are sick. They are 31st in pressure rate, but have the 3rd highest blitz rate. The offensive line is atrocious, they can’t run the ball, and similar to the Houston Texans, their backup quarterback tanked their entire season. They did everything right for a rebuilding team. They maximized their draft capital, they played the kids, they found young talent in unexpected places, they went all in on free agency to develop a core competency. This was supposed to be their year. Instead, they are 1-7, and begging for Deshaun Watson.

Houston is in the same spot. Both teams forever linked with the Laremy Tunsil trade, an invisible string tying the two together, lying across the gulf from one another. The difference is this week the Texans have TYGOD TAYLOR, and the Dolphins don’t. Both teams are bad in similar ways, the Texans just have the better quarterback, a hilarious thing to say.

BfMFd: Dolphins 34, Texans 24.

With Tyrod Taylor taking snaps again, perhaps the offense won’t look so horribly incompetent for a while? The big question, though, is how long does Taylor last this time around?

The big problem is that the Texans won’t be able to cover the Dolphins wide receivers, and the Fins could easily drop a 40-burger on the Texans defense.

Mike: Texans 19, Dolphins 18.

In the battle of ineptitude, David Culley loses by accidentally, well, winning. Let’s face it, this would be the most Houston Texans thing ever to screw up the first chance in years to get a prime draft slot by beating the one team we just gave our draft to the last few seasons. Insult, meet injury.

In the end, Davis Mills will still have bad footwork, Brandin Cooks will gain the only meaningful yards, Lonnie Johnson Jr. will still be wearing his Vernon Hargreaves III Halloween costume, and Tim Kelly will potentially suffer a brain injury due to the sheer lack of talent on this offense.

2-7, here we come...

l4blitzer: Dolphins 24, Texans 21.

Prior to the late-breaking news about Tyrod Taylor being named the starter for this game, I was set to pick the Dolphins to win 16-3. Miami has to be among the biggest disappointments for the 2021 season. Coming off a ten-win season and armed with plenty of high drafts (many courtesy of the Texans...so thoughtful of the previous regime), the Dolphins seemed ready to take their place among the teams competing for the NFL Playoffs. That has definitely NOT happened. Between injuries, inconsistent play, and internal dissent, the Dolphins are continuing a post-Shula/Johnson trend of following up an out-of-nowhere good season with a return to NFL irrelevance. I didn’t picture Flores being on the hot seat, especially after last year, but his office chair must be quite warm right about now.

However, as bad as things are in Miami, we are talking about the Texans here. They are not a good team by any stretch, and they are taking their place among the worst road teams of all time. The trade deadline came and went, with the team still armed with most of the same cast and crew. This is not exactly a good thing. The motivation of players like Cooks, Cunningham, and Lindsay, any of whom could have had a ride off the sinking Texans and over to a team that might actually do well on the field, will be a subplot to watch. The Texans’ defense is still very limited, the offense perhaps even more so.

This will not be an especially high quality game, especially with both teams a combined 2-14. However, if Taylor is back under center, provided he can sort of recapture his play from early in the season, it might be kind of entertaining for the on-field action. I was tempted to actually call this a win for the Texans, but this team is so really-not-good on the road that I can’t make that call until the team actually proves that it can compete on the road, much less win.

Miami jumps out to double-digit lead and then holds on for dear life as the Texans storm back in the second half, failing to recover a key onside kick late in the fourth quarter that gives Miami the narrow victory.

Chris: Texans 26, Dolphins 23.

Two bad teams having the slapfight of the week. I expect the Texans will move the ball much better with a better QB and a much less accomplished opponent. The real question is whether Deshaun Watson will travel with the team and try to time his good times in the back room with the finish...uh, of the game.

Matt Robinson: Dolphins 28, Texans 21.

An almost unanimous sweep for the most disappointing team this year it is incredibly difficult to peg what exactly the Dolphins do well. Their offense almost entirely consists of RPO’s in order to satisfy a limited quarterback, despite multiple resources spent their offensive line has been a sieve, and the defense has underperformed from previous years. Short of two offensive coordinators it felt like I was typing out a summation for the Texans there. The key difference going in will be the return of TyGOD Taylor into Tim Kelly’s once alluring offense. The sheer idea of Taylor throwing more than 5 concepts has me feeling friskily optimistic about this game. A popular talking point I’ve seen this week is that Tyrod playing will ruin our odds at the number 1 pick. Personally I believe the first pick is an overrated position that often pigeon holes teams into taking certain guys with lower teams rarely wanting to meet the high ransom to move up. Sure Kayvon Thibodeaux is an electric edge prospect ranging somewhere in the Myles Garrett to defensive Josh Allen range but like the 2011 draft there is a plethora of edge talent coming out this year. Anything within the top five picks in my eyes should be considered a win. So instead of viewing Tyrod a draft position wrecker he should instead be viewed as a potential guiding light who could provide more downfield opportunities in order to see what we have in Nico Collins and Brevin Jordan potentially. Tim Kelly could prove me wrong but I am looking forward to seeing the offense potentially opened up this week.

This is the first time a decent amount of the BRB staff has picked the Texans to win in quite a while. How do you see the game going? Use the comments section to predict Sunday’s contest, and above all else - enjoy the game!