MATT HARAB

4 NFL games to watch this weekend not involving the Texans

The Jaguars hope to ride their defense against Dallas. Jacksonvillejaguars.com

There are certain games over the course of the season that you simply cannot lose if you want to seriously consider yourself contenders for the playoffs.  The Texans have one of those games against the Bills this weekend. If they are for real, they get back to .500 this weekend and ride a three-game winning streak into the biggest game of the season on the road against Jacksonville next week.  Make Josh Allen eat grass. I want to see J.J. Watt set up a tent and a campfire in the backfield this weekend. This front seven should DOMINATE Sunday in what is hopefully a statement game for the Texans at home. Here are four must watch games other than the Texans we must pay attention to on Sunday.  

Cowboys vs. Jaguars

Without a doubt, this game is a must watch if for no other reason than Houstonians want to see Dallas lose again. But in all honesty, the Cowboys have a stingy defense as the Texans discovered last week.  How does Jacksonville’s running game look? No Leonard Fournette. T.J. Yeldon is playing, but he’s banged up. They literally signed Jamaal Charles off the street this week. An area where Houston can really take advantage next week in Jacksonville is making Blake Bortles HAVE to throw the football. Put them into third and long situations by stopping the run. That’s how you can beat Jacksonville. We’ll see if Dallas can do that to them Sunday.

Ravens at Titans

The second team above the Texans right now is Tennessee.  I do not buy this squad at all as legitimate playoff contenders.  They have got to fall off the cliff at some point right? It could start this week against an angry flock of Ravens coming off a loss in overtime to Cleveland, a game where they failed to score a touchdown.. Houston doesn’t play the Titans again until Nov. 26, however the Titans free fall could take place over the next four weeks. This game against the Ravens, at the Chargers next week, at Dallas the following week and then home for New England.  Texans fans should be waving the purple flag this weekend high and proud.

Chargers at Browns

If you are being completely honest with yourself as a Texans fan, you are thinking Wild Card is PROBABLY the path into the playoffs. Jacksonville has an elite defense and although I cannot wait to see if they can pull the upset off next week, at this stage in the season the probable path into the postseason is as a five or six seed.  Both the Chargers and Browns are in that situation with Kansas City flying high, and the Bengals in first place in the AFC North. These are two teams right here who could be competing at the end of the year with Houston for a way into the playoffs. I am curious how they stack up against each other. Texans fans want Cleveland to win this game, as they have the worse record of the two and are the worse team in my opinion.

Chiefs at Patriots

I know you have work on Monday. I get it. But go in tired, call in sick, I don’t really care.  But WATCH THIS FOOTBALL GAME. His Highness Brady vs. the next biggest thing. This will be the best game of the weekend, and I hope it ends 38-35.  I don’t really care which way, but if you want to see two offenses to be jealous of as a Texans fan then watch. Butt in couch. Beer in hand.

Oh yea, and raise that beer to one more fact. The Texans after an 0-3 start are ABSOLUTELY still relevant.  Sunday’s don’t suck. Cheers.

 

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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