For todays NFL article we are going to look at
the team who we believe posessses one of the easiest schedules in the NFL and
should have no problem getting back into the post season and possibly making a
Super Bowl run.
The Houston Texans
Even with the Houston
Texans losing both star QB Matt Schaub and superstar WR Andre Johnson last year,
they still made a deep run into the NFL playoffs. T.J. Yates
stepped in and was very serviceable while running back Arian Foster ran all
over opposing defenses. In large part due to their play, the Texans hosted their first playoff
game since 1993 - when they were still the Oilers- and put up a great effort against a
ferocious Baltimore Ravens defense before losing 20-13. Bringing in defensive
cordinator Wade Phillips turned the Texans' defense into a complete
beast, making them the best defense in the league in statistical terms; that should carry over into 2012. And, with Matt Schaub returning,
we expect much more of the Texans than a first round home defeat.
A look at their
schedule and predictions
Week 1 Texas will
host the Miami Dolphins, who come into the season with a new head coach and are
still fumbling around with a new QB. This is a very winnable game for the
Texans; without a doubt, they should handle their business here. They head into Jacksonville in week two to face the Jags Blaine Gabbert in his second year at quarterback. Seeing as Gabbert was a complete bust his rookie season, the Texans defense should keep Maurice Jones, Jr. in check while
limiting the passing game and win this one going away. So, right there is a nice, easy 2-0 start for Houston. Week 3 gets a littler tricker as Houston goes into Denver to face long-time nemesis Peyton Manning. There is still a
ton of question marks around Manning and his neck injury. When you come off
neck infusions like that, one hit can ruin your career. It's very possible that Manning doesn't even make it to week 3. Even if he
does, we still believe the Texans hold a signifcant edge on defense once
again. Manning won't have the offensive weapons he did in Indy and
nearly no running game to speak of (though that has never stopped him before in the past).
This will be a true test and measuring stick for Houston - and Denver as well - but we see Houston coming away with the victory, no longer the stepchild in the division to Peyton Manning, having gotten over that hurdle the last 2
years. We see a 3-0 start for Houston.
After two road games,
Houston will travel back home to play another very mediocre team in the
Tennesse Titans. Chris Johnson had the worst season of his career last year,
after absolutely owning the NFL the previous season. Even if he does bounce back this season, the Texans defense was one of the top teams stopping
the run last year and Tennesse does not have much at the QB position, so they
will be able to stack the box and key in on Johnson. If the Texans can air it out and get out to an early double-digit lead, the Titans have no shot in this
ballgame as they are not built to come from behind at all. Again, significant
edge to Houston. 4-0 start.
Then we get into the grueling part of the Texans' schedule, which could define
a little bit of their season. They will travel to New York to play the Jets on
Monday Night Football in prime time TV. Both teams will be jacked up for
this game, but we are not believers in the Jets at all. Rex Ryan runs his mouth way too much, his defense has gotten worse every single year, and Mark Sanchez has regressed every year as well. Sanchez still does not have any signifcant weapons
on the outside to help him out, and all the Tebow distractions will only makes things worse. Plus, NY lost their best yardage producer in Ladanian
Tomlinson. Shawne Greene has proven that he is not good enough to be an every down
back. The Texans should own the Jets
running game here, forcing Sanchez to make plays through the air, something he
has progressively gotten worse at. Texans prevail in a very hard fought game
and go to 5-0.
In week six, the Texans take on the mighty Green Bay Packers in another prime time
game. This is going to be a very tough spot for Houston: having to cope with the
high powered GB offense after a hard hitting MNF game. If they don't have themselves completely focused and
are a little banged up from the MNF game the week before, they could get
absolutely smoked here. Edge goes to GB and Houston drops their first game of
the season to go to 5-1.
The next game Houston
finds themselves at home again against another formidable opponent that will
come into Reliant Stadium in the Baltimore Ravens. This should be one of the
best games of the year and one to really keep an eye on, as Houston will be
looking for revenge after last year's first round play off exit to Baltimore. If
Houston plays their cards right and shuts down Ray Rice and keeps Joe Flacco in
check, the aging Baltimore defense won't be able to keep up with the high
powered Houston offense. There is extra motivation on the line here for Houston
and we see them going to 6-1.
The rest of the
schedule is easy as pie
The preceding are really the
key games Houston will have to focus on, as the rest of the season they will
face, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tennessee once again, Indianapolis twice and
Minnesota. If Houston
remains healthy and focused, they should handle all those teams pretty easily. There are 2 games remaining in their schedule, though, that could give them trouble. They'll go into New England in prime time; it should be an absolute
shootout and a game for the fans to remember which should come down the last
drive and last team with the ball wins. The last concerning game is when
Houston goes into Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day game. This, too, should be high scoring shootout. The thing is, though, Houston possessed one
of the best defenses in the league last year and we dont see much off a drop
off coming with Wade Phillips still as the defensive coordinator and the same
core group of guys. So, Houston will have a significant edge on defense in all
of these so called shoot outs.
For all their strenghts on offense and defense, we believe the Texans have been gifted
with one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. It's now or never for the
Texans and their fans have been waiting a very long time. As long as Matt
Schaub and Andre Johnson can stay healthy and defense stays on par to what they
did last year, we are predicting Houston to go either 12-3 or 11-4 for a very
strong regular season, that sets them up for a great play off run and possibly
reach the pinnacle, the Super Bowl.