Colts 27, Texans 20

5 reasons to keep watching the Texans after Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Colts

The Texans just can't catch a break. Photo by Getty Images

Let's face it; there is not a lot of interest in the Texans right now. They have nothing to play for, no draft pick to tank for and are basically playing exhibitions. Sunday, they played a decent game again with a gritty effort, but came up short in a 27-20 loss to the Colts, once again fumbling on the final drive. Deshaun Watson had another monster game (33 of 41 for 373 yards and two TDs), but other than that, it's a struggle to come up with any reason to keep watching this team. We still managed to somehow find five:

1) Let's see if Whitney Mercilus can continue being invisible. The overpaid Mercilus had gone two games in a row without so much as a tackle entering Sunday's game. When it came to ineptitude, he did not disappoint against the Colts, with ONE tackle. One freaking tackle in three games. (He also had a nice flail at the running back early in the game). Can he keep continuing to be useless over the last two games? Let's find out. Play a drinking game; for every quarter he goes without a tackle, take a shot. You will get at least three in per game. He appeared to injure his arm late, so maybe the Texans are merciful and put everyone out of their misery.

2) We should find out if Brandin Cooks can win a job here next year. Cooks has been solid when on the field, but he is a $12 million cap hit next season and the Texans can cut him with no penalty. Keke Coutee (if he can learn to protect the ball) and Chad Hansen should be on the roster next year, and Randall Cobb is not going anywhere due to his ridiculous contract. So it might come down to re-signing Will Fuller (or adding a better free agent) or keeping Cooks. He needs to have a big couple of weeks to make the new GM and coaching staff have a hard decision.

3) We can enjoy what might be J.J. Watt's last two games as a Texan. Watt has been the greatest player in franchise history and one of the best to ever play in the city. But the Texans won't be contenders next season, and they would be doing Watt a solid by dealing him to a legitimate contender at the twilight of his career. The guy has been a joy to watch, and seeing him on the field in a Texans uniform for what will likely be the last two times will be bittersweet, but enjoy him while you have him.

4) Then there is always the players who will be back next year. Mercilus will be but shouldn't. Unfortunately his contract is too punitive to purge unless they can find a trade partner. That probably won't happen unless Bill O'Brien is the other GM. The Texans should sit Watson (he was sacked four times in the first half and they are going to get him killed), but he is putting together a strong year and 4,000 yards, 30 TDs and under 10 turnovers would be outstanding. He has eight 300-yard passing games this season. Other than that? Hansen, Coutee, Laremy Tunsil, Tytus Howard (if his injury isn't season ending) and the cadre of tight ends are worth watching to see what the Texans can start with next year. On defense? It's basically Zach Cunningham, Tyrell Adams and Charles Omenihu. That's about it. Sad.

5) Let's see if any of the young running backs can be part of the future. David and Duke Johnson and their ridiculous contracts should be gone next season. The Texans will have to invest rare draft picks or free agent money for a legitimate replacement. But they will need backups, and we should see Buddy Howell, Scottie Phillips and any other guy they can find off the scrap heap over the last two games. We don't need to see another minute of the David Johnson experience. He had a nice game as a target for Watson passing, but he can't run, and all he does is remind people what a crappy trade Bill O'Brien made with DeAndre Hopkins. The snake has been beheaded. Let's chop off the rest of it now. (That includes you too, Jack Easterby).

The bottom line: Yeah, these aren't great reasons. But we have to look for something, right? It is still NFL football. Sort of. And there are only two games left before what will be a critical off-season. Might as well find something to enjoy. Admittedly, I miss having O'Brien to make fun of and criticize. There is no joy in beating up on Romeo Crennel and his staff, which is basically still O'Brien's staff. So we will focus on the five reasons above over the next two weeks.

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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