An honest discussion about our expectations for the Texans this season

The picture will become more clear after the NFL Draft. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The NFL has gone to a 17 game schedule starting this season. This now means there will be no .500 seasons. Teams will either go 9-8, or 8-9, or 7-7-1, or 8-7-1, or 7-8-1, or worse than that. You get my drift. No need to keep explaining things. We see where this is going. Can the Texans surprise us and be more competitive than we're all thinking?

One easy answer is no. They have a roster that has been thrown together and could be missing Deshaun Watson because of trade or possible suspension. They don't have the draft picks to make an instant impact and get better faster. Plus, they didn't spend big money in free agency to get some big time players. It's easy to say they didn't improve this team enough over last year.

However, are we discounting the guys they brought in? Are we not taking into consideration the hunger for guys on one year prove it type deals? Guys like that are at a crossroads in their careers. They're at a point in which they could be out of the league, but are barely hanging on. When your back is against the wall, you can often come out swinging. I'm not saying the Texans will fight and make a playoff run, but they could be better than we're thinking.

General manager Nick Caserio has done a good job of bringing in some decent talent. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor isn't a scrub and has led a team to a playoff birth recently. Running back Mark Ingram has carried the ball for multiple playoff contenders. They're also switching to a 4-3 defense that'll play mostly a Tampa 2 style defense. Playing more zone coverage instead of man may help this talent deficient defense. Guys will be put into positions to succeed more often than they were previously and that could help immensely.

Do I believe they'll be at or above .500? No, because I can't see this team doing what's necessary to win close games or pull off comeback wins. Will they be one of the worst teams in football? Perhaps, but it's hard to tell right now. We can't discount that all the guys on this roster are still professional football players and made it to the NFL for a reason. I'm thinking this team will go somewhere between 7-10 and 4-13. They won't be a three win or less disaster like most people are thinking. They may be like this year's Rockets and be competitive for a while, then fall off. While I hope they'll flame out in order to get a higher draft pick next offseason, I don't think it'll happen. Let's hope they lose every game by one possession to remain competitive, while satisfying the need for a high draft pick.

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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