How the landscape in Houston sports is giving off 2017 vibes

Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve
Something similar could be on the horizon. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.
Justin Verlander and Jose Altuve

There are good times on the horizon. If things go well, all three major pro sports teams in Houston will be in contention for playoff appearances at the same time. I know, I know. The Texans are not good right now and just traded a franchise quarterback. The Rockets just finished with the worst record in the league for the second year in a row. The Astros are back but lost a top star for the second consecutive offseason. Things are fragile, but there is a silver lining for all three. This hasn't been the case since October 2017.

Back then, things were looking up all across the board for every franchise of the major three. The Texans had drafted their franchise quarterback. While they'd end that season 4-12, they went into the bye week 3-3. After a half of football by Tom Savage in the opening game, Deshaun Watson came in and showed why he was drafted so high. He tore his ACL after the week eight loss to Seattle and that sent the season into a tailspin. Despite an abrupt end to their hopes, that team had a bright future.

The 2016-17 Rockets had come off a .500 season previously and would begin that season showing some promise after signing some new pieces to go along with James Harden. They'd finish 3rd in the West losing to the Spurs in the conference semis. It was the beginning of a period of play in which they would be thought of as contenders. Meanwhile, the Astros were busy winning the 2017 World Series and bringing this city its first major pro sports title since the '94-'95 Rockets. They were young, refreshing, and very talented. This was the first of five consecutive ALCS or more appearances.

I see something similar on the horizon. The Astros may have lost a couple stars, but they're still rolling. Some key guys are getting healthy, and the core is older, but this team still has the firepower to contend. They entered this season as a +1000 to win it all which was the third-best odds on the board at the time. The Rockets have a future star in Jalen Green, as well as a couple other guys that show some potential. Owning a potential top three pick in a loaded top half of the draft and armed with an additional first rounder could help propel this team into contention a lot sooner than what most thought. The Texans now own two first rounders in this draft and the next two after that. Rebuilds in the NFL are aided by wise decisions on free agents and drafting well. If they can take advantage of the opportunities in front of them, they too will be back in the playoff picture sooner than later.

In life, we sometimes have to take a few steps back before we can truly move forward. You'll get knocked down and taken off the path you're on many times. What defines you is how many times you continue to get up and persevere despite your circumstances. Each of these teams has had some challenges lately. Some have had more than others. However, I can see the Texans, Rockets, and Astros all giving the city of Houston something to be proud of at the same time very soon.

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Here's some eye-opening Houston Texans context that will have you rethinking everything

All of a sudden, the Houston Texans have won three straight and host the Jacksonville Jaguars for a highly anticipated game this weekend

If the Texans come away victorious, they will take possession of first place in the division, and be in position to host a home playoff game for the first time since 2019.

Which got us thinking, is this the best version of the Texans we've ever seen? Many would say the best Texans teams were the ones coached by Gary Kubiak with Matt Schaub at QB. Or some may say it was the Bill O'Brien 2019 team with Deshaun Watson pulling the trigger at QB.

Regardless of which era of the Texans you believe was the best, one thing is for sure. This year's team has us optimistic on several levels. Ownership seems to have figured things out with the Easterby days behind us. Nick Caserio is a serious candidate for Executive of the Year, CJ Stroud is a favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and has a chance to win MVP. And DeMeco Ryans has a legit shot at Coach of the Year.

But let's go even further. Has DeMeco done enough already to be considered the franchise's best coach? Many would say these questions are entirely premature, but are they really?

We could also make the argument that Tank Dell is already the third-best receiver in franchise history behind Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. He already has as many touchdowns (6) as Dre and Hopkins combined in their rookie seasons.

And let's make things even more interesting. Is CJ Stroud the best Houston QB since Warren Moon?

Be sure to watch the video above as we answer all these questions!

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