Every-Thing Sports

Houston sports power rankings: Where does your favorite pro team land?

Justin Verlander pitches Game 1. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Last Tuesday, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien was giving a speech at the Texans kickoff luncheon. He made a reference about the Texans being the main attraction in town. He got laughed at by the audience in attendance and roasted by Raheel Ramzanali, John Granato, and Lance Zierlein the next day on this site. Truth be told: this is a football state, but Houston is clearly an Astros town right now.

In 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit, it came when the Astros were in the middle of a playoff run. The Texans were getting ready to defend their AFC South division title. The Rockets were coming off finishing third in the Western Conference and losing in the second round to the San Antonio Spurs in six games.

Let's be honest: Houston isn't a football town. Texas may be a football state, but Houston has an allegiance to the team that has most recently brought it a world championship. What does the pecking order of pro sports team actually look like in Houston?

#1 The Astros

Astros World Series photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

This team is poised to contend for World Series titles for the next two to five years. With the 2017 World Series title under their belt, there are many stars to come in and fill spots and keep the machine going. The farm system is cranking out gems such as Yordan Alvarez. Meanwhile, guys lie Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and George Springer are home grown talents producing at the Major League level. Their window for winning it all will last as long as the pi0peline of guys the have coming up from the minors and major league talent they retain. So far, they're the only team to bring a title to Houston since the '94-'95 NBA season.

#2 The Rockets

Russell Westbrook

The Houston Rockets are the only other pro team to reach their conference finals other than the Astros in the city of Houston in the last few years. When they traded for James Harden and made him the figurehead of everything they wanted to do, it was a huge leap of faith for the organization. After a few years of trying to find him a partner, the Rockets were mired in mediocrity. Chris Paul was too damn old to help this team get over the hump. Henceforth the move for Russell Westbrook this offeseason. Now this team is poised for title runs at least the next two to three years.

#3 The Texans

Texans Bill O'Brien Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Bringing up the caboose of pro sports teams in Houston, we round out the list with the guy who thinks they're number one because this is a football state. That's laughable and he got laughed at for saying it. This team hasn't done any significant winning and continues to make reactionary moves instead of being proactive. While bringing in Laremy Tunsil was a good move, trading Jadeveon Clowney for loose sofa change wasn't. The price paid on both trades could've been avoided had those moves been made at better times. Until they at minimum make a Super Bowl appearance, they'll continue to be little brother.



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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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