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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Houston went yard several times

Astros take series from Angels with a home run parade

Houston homered their way to another series win Wednesday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After losing the opener then winning an exciting game Tuesday night, the Astros were seeking another series victory by winning the rubber match on Wednesday. They would blast homers all through the night, pushing them over the Angels in the finale.

Final Score: Astros 9, Angels 1

Astros' Record: 20-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Andrew Heaney (1-3)

Astros grab an early lead, Urquidy exits with injury

Houston made early noise in Wednesday night's game, with Jose Altuve turning around the very first pitch of the bottom of the first inning for a solo homer. A two-out single later in the inning set up Yuli Gurriel for his seventh home run and 30th RBI of the season, putting the Astros out to an early 3-0 lead.

Jose Urquidy looked in control through the first three innings, allowing just two hits while maintaining the lead. However, after recording the second out of the fourth, he would be visited by training and coaching staff on the mound before being removed, later diagnosed with posterior shoulder discomfort. Brandon Bielak would quickly enter the game, picking up where Urquidy left off by keeping the Angels off the board.

Tucker stays hot as Bielak locks in out of the bullpen

Still 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Kyle Tucker would extend his recent hot streak by putting two more runs on the board with a blast to extend the lead to 5-0. Bielak remained in the game in the top of the seventh, having allowed just one hit while retiring all other batters since entering in the top of the fourth. He made it through that inning, putting Los Angeles down 1-2-3, and stayed on the mound in the top of the eighth.

He wouldn't be able to get any further, allowing a leadoff walk followed by a single, putting runners on the corners and prompting Dusty Baker to go to the third pitcher of the night, Andre Scrubb. The Angels would get on the board with a sac fly to make it 5-1, but Scrubb would finish the inning with no further damage.

Astros continue the home run barrage to take the series

Yordan Alvarez would get the run back with Houston's fourth dinger of the night, a solo shot to make it 6-1. They continued to pour it on, with Chaz McCormick joining the home run parade with a three-run blast later in the inning, making it 9-1. Joe Smith would take over on the mound in the top of the ninth, finishing off the lopsided win to give Houston the series victory as they turn the page to another division opponent.

Up Next: Having already faced the rest of the division in 2021 multiple times, the Astros will have their first series against the Texas Rangers starting Thursday at 7:10 PM Central at Minute Maid Park. In the opener, Cristian Javier (3-1, 2.90 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, going up against Mike Foltynewicz (1-3, 4.50 ERA).

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