Watt's future and the newest closer you can trust in Houston

Could Watt return and what to make of the Bucs?

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

3 Headline, 2 Questions, and 1 Bet ahead of the last road game of the regular season for the Texans.

Basically AFC South champs

Bill O'Brien doesn't hold back with reporters


The Texans basically secured the AFC South and the fourth spot in the AFC side of the playoffs with their Sunday win. The Titans can even the season record but Houston has a stranglehold on tiebreakers even if the Titans take care of their business.

The Texans would have to lose to Tampa Bay and then lose to the Titans and then they'd be in danger of losing their playoff spot altogether.

So, essentially, the Texans will again be AFC South champs short of a massive failure at multiple levels.

That will mark O'Brien's fourth AFC South championship in six years at the helm of the organization. Since he was hired in 2014, he will have made the playoffs more than John Harbaugh and Mike Zimmer. He could have the same amount of first place finishes as Jason Garrett should the Cowboys hold onto the NFC East crown.

I say all that to say this: It doesn't matter if he doesn't win in the playoffs. Period. It is time for the Texans to win playoff games, plural. They also need to take care of their business these final two weeks should the Chiefs slip up and open up the three seed for them.

Film room pays off

Justin Reid on Sunday. Bradley Roby against the Patriots with an interception. Both touted they saw those plays coming on film the week leading up to the game.

Bill O'Brien downplayed the frequency of film helping noting the looks have to sometimes be right but he did tout his team's preparedness when it comes to studying film.

I will say this, when the Texans are on, they're on. The Titans had been scoring like crazy before the game against Houston and the Texans held them scoreless in the first half and to just 21 for the game. Outside of two final Patriots drive the defense did a good job again. Hopefully the film success continues for the Texans.

The Closer

DeAndre Hopkins was a monster in the clutch. In the fourth quarter he had four catches for 98 yards. The four catches went for 25 yards, 35 yards twice, and three yards. Up to that point he had just two catches for 21 yards.

Hopkins finds a way to get open in key moments and it seems like earlier Watson either missed him or really shied away from the heavy coverage. Obviously Hopkins and Fuller's return led to the open looks for Kenny Stills in the first half. Hopkins was the catalyst for the two scoring drives in the fourth. He is sensational.

How about Hyde?

He's a thousand yard rusher for the first time in his career. He's fit better for this offense and what Bill O'Brien wants in a back than anyone else in their time in my opinion. Really nice addition by the front office when they were in dire need of a player of Hyde's skill set.

I wrote a little more about Hyde Sunday.

Can Watt come back?

Bill O'Brien didn't rule it out.

"J.J. (Watt) is working very very hard. He's certainly made progress based on his work ethic and who he's working with in the training room. We will see how it goes."

That certainly isn't a no. Not a resounding yes either. Watt would likely need to practice some in the regular season so if it was going to be the case for him to return we may know shortly.

Meanwhile, T.J. Watt is close to replicating the production from his brother's first few seasons and big brother couldn't be happier as seen above.

I bet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about out of steam

Chris Godwin left the Buccaneers win over the Lions with a hamstring injury. That comes one week after Mike Evans had his season ended via a hamstring as well. That leaves Tampa Bay without their top two pass catchers and their only players with over 500 yards receiving. Breshad Perriman just had his best game with the Buccaneers but he's now the number one basically with the injuries.

Jameis Winston leads the league in passing yards and is second in touchdowns but leads the league in interceptions by a wide margin. I have to imagine the turnovers will come when he doesn't have two premier wideouts to get the ball to on Saturday. Especially when Tampa could need to throw the ball a ton if they get behind.

Tampa has done a great job this season fighting to seven wins. The Texans have more than enough to make sure they don't get to eight this week.

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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