The Friday Cody Stoots 6 pack

Adrian Peterson is key to Sunday's Texans game

Adrian Peterson will be a tough challenge for the Texans. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

 

1. The Texans injury report couldn't look any better than it does so far this week. Aaron Colvin, Johnathan Joseph, Keke Coutee, and Andre Hal all seemingly have a chance to play against Washington. Zach Cunningham is a longshot for this weekend but trending in the right direction for the Monday night game against Tennessee. If Colvin and Joseph are back, even not at full strength, the secondary could be scary. The safeties have played fantastic this season and if they get help from the corners watch out. 

2. There is a solid argument to be made Alex Smith is one of the least impressive opposing quarterbacks left on the Texans roster. Only Sam Darnold, who's playing poorly now for a bad Jets team, and Blake Bortles are worse than Smith. He's average at best in almost every aspect of his play. He doesn't turn the ball over a ton which is a big positive for a guy who doesn't hit big plays hardly at all. They're not very dynamic on offense either, but, they do enough to get the job done. They can't hang in a shootout but if this game gets muddy and ugly Washington will stay in it. 

3. Adrian Peterson is one of the most impressive athletes in NFL history. His level of play at his age, after his injuries, is incredible. He's fifth in the league in rushing and can still handle a heavy load on the ground. He's likely the best player on Washington's offense and should see a heavy dose of action Sunday to try to stymie the Texans pass rush. He is the type of player that if he gets going the Texans could have to over-correct to stop him and allow Alex Smith some room to make a play. 

4. Titans and Colts in Indianapolis is a game Texans fans should pay attention to on Sunday. The winner is going to be nipping at the Texans heels in the AFC South and both have to come to Houston before the season ends. Andrew Luck has been a fun watch in recent weeks and their offense seems to be plenty dangerous enough to win them games. The Titans regularly surprise, both good and bad, with their performances. They have a win over the Patriots and the Texans, with their backup quarterback against Houston. They also have losses to the Bills and Dolphins. They are hitting their stride on offense and Mike Vrabel has the defense playing well. 

5. With their loss last night, it seems the Packers are unlikely to make the playoffs. They need to overhaul quite a bit of the team in the coming offseason and attempt to maximize Aaron Rodgers' final years. He's one of the most impressive quarterbacks to ever play and the team around him just hasn't been good enough to make noise every year like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady's teams were in their primes. Aaron Jones is a nice piece and their wideouts are pretty good but the defense needs more playmakers and their offensive line regularly disappoints. 

6. Sunday Night Football is one hell of a game and one of the reasons the Packers will have such a tough time maximizing their remaining time with Aaron Rodgers. Mitchell Trubuisky is playing very well and Khalil Mack and the defense have struggled a little but have plenty of ability. The Vikings have stabilized their defense and Kirk Cousins is regularly earning his money. With Dalvin Cook back, this could be one of the most dangerous NFC teams down the stretch. The winner is going to be in the pole position in the NFC North while the loser will look towards week 17 with revenge in their mind in the second matchup between these two. 

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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