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 now focused on postseason

Altuve and Correa homer, Astros drop final regular-season game

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With no playoff impact at stake if the Astros won or lost the game, Houston took Sunday's final regular-season game as a chance to get their lineup a few more at-bats before shifting focus to Tuesday's first game of the post-season. Here is a quick recap of the game against the Rangers:

Final Score: Rangers 8, Astros 4.

Record: 29-31, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wes Benjamin (2-1, 4.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chase De Jong (0-1, 14.73 ERA).

Houston's main bats get a final tune-up

Knowing they'd only have a couple of at-bats to work with, some of Houston's big bats took advantage, starting with Jose Altuve. He crushed a pitch in the top of the first, a solo homer to put the Astros in front 1-0. After the Rangers tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Altuve started the third with a walk before moving to third base on a Michael Brantley single, which improved Brantley's season average to .300.

Aledmys Diaz would pick up the RBI on a groundout to score Altuve, putting Houston back in front 2-1. In Correa's last at-bat in the top of the fourth, he extended the lead to 3-1 with a solo home run of his own.

Rangers hand Astros a loss to end the regular season

After getting the early run against Chase De Jong, the Rangers would put together a big inning against him in the fourth. After two one-out singles, Rougned Odor would give Texas their first lead of the day on a three-run homer to make it 4-3.

De Jong would continue to struggle in the inning, getting just one more out while loading the bases, prompting a move to the bullpen to bring in Nivaldo Rodriguez to try and eat up more innings. The Rangers greeted him with a two-RBI single to extend their lead to 6-3 before ending the fourth. Odor would hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot to make it a four-run lead at 7-3.

Rodriguez allowed another run in the bottom of the seventh, making it 8-3. Diaz, who drove in a run earlier, would account for another RBI in the top of the eighth, getting Houston's third solo homer of the day. That would make it an 8-4 game, which would go final as the Rangers would win the regular season's last game.

Up Next: Houston's first game of the playoffs will be on Tuesday, with the start time and opponent TBD while the rest of today's games wrap up, and the schedule is announced. Regardless, the Astros are expected to begin that best-of-three series with Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

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