How Texans can build legit win streak, avoid massive letdown vs. Cardinals

IT'S A TRAP!

The Houston Texans hype train is in full effect after beating Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. If the season were to end today, the Texans would in the playoffs as a wild card.

So the team needs to keep winning as they head to NRG to play three straight home games against the Cardinals, Jaguars, and Broncos.

But first things first, CJ Stroud and company need to take care of business against Arizona. When looking at the Texans opponent, we can basically throw everything we know about them on offense out the window.

The Cardinals are a different team with Kyler Murray and running back James Conner back in the fold. They both returned last week, and helped the team beat the Falcons.

The Texans are currently favored by 4 points, and the total is set at 47.5 points, now the highest total of the week. So Vegas expects a lot of points in this contest.

One matchup we should highlight involves Cardinals TE Trey McBride. He had a big game against the Ravens a few weeks ago and, just this past weekend, recorded 8 catches for 131 yards against Atlanta.

This could be a big factor in Sunday's game, as the Texans have had some issues defending tight ends. Bucs TE Cade Otton had his best game of the year against Houston two weeks ago with 70 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

One thing is for sure, the Texans must avoid this becoming a trap game. Next Sunday's game against the Jaguars will be critical for Houston's chances at winning the division. They don't want to get caught looking ahead.

But with Murray and Conner returning, they should have Houston's full attention.

So can the Texans keep their momentum rolling and beat the Cardinals?

Check out the video above as we break it all down.

Watch Texans on Tap (a Texans podcast) every Monday on the SportsMapTexans YouTube channel.


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Raners defeat the Astros, 4-2. Composite Getty Image.

Josh Smith homered twice with four RBIs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Smith had a two-run shot in the first and added another one with two outs in the eighth to push the lead to 4-1. It’s the first multi-homer game of the 26-year-old’s career.

The Rangers won the last two games of the series after dropping Friday’s opener 6-3. They also got a 2-1 victory Saturday thanks to Nathaniel Lowe’s RBI single in the 10th inning.

Jake Meyers cut the lead to 1 with a solo home run in the third but the Astros went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position to fall to 50-46 entering the All-Star break.

Texas starter Max Scherzer allowed four hits and a run with six strikeouts in four-plus innings in his fifth start of the season.

Jon Singleton walked before a single by Jeremy Peña with no outs in the ninth. There was one out in the inning when Singleton scored on a groundout by Joey Loperfido to cut the lead to 4-2. Trey Cabbage grounded out to end it and give Kirby Yates his 16th save.

Ronel Blanco (9-4) permitted two hits and two runs with five strikeouts in six innings. He settled down after his tough first inning and retired the last 12 batters he faced.

Marcus Semien singled to start the game but was out at second when Corey Seager grounded into a foreceout. Smith gave the Rangers an early lead with his towering shot to the second deck to make it 2-0.

Meyers opened Houston’s third with a shot to the seats in left field to cut the lead to 2-1. Jose Altuve singled with two outs and stole second base but Scherzer struck out Alex Bregman for the third out.

The Astros had a shot to tie it or take the lead in the fifth. Peña and Meyers both singled before Loperfido walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning and chase Scherzer. Josh Sborz (2-0) took over and escaped the jam by striking out Mauricio Dubón before retiring Altuve on a pop up and Bregman on a groundout to end the inning.

Seager walked with two outs in the eighth before Smith connected again to give him 10 home runs this season.

Altuve reached on a fielding error by Smith with one out in the eighth before Bregman singled off José Leclerc. Jacob Latz took over and struck out Yordan Alvarez before Yainer Diaz grounded out to leave Houston emptyhanded again.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (fractured right wrist) swung 15 times off a tee using a regular bat Sunday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would continue increasing his activity during the break as he nears a rehabilitation assignment.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) threw a bullpen session of 25 pitches Sunday. Manager Joe Espada said he looked “really good” and would throw another bullpen session during the break.

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