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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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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