Silver linings: How struggles against Colts reveal true strength of Texans offense

The Houston Texans home opener against the Colts didn't go exactly liked we hoped, with the team falling behind early and eventually losing, 31-20.

Head coach DeMeco Ryans and his defense had no answers for the Colts offense, even after Indy was forced to go to their backup QB Gardner Minshew, after Anthony Richardson suffered a concussion.

While there's plenty of time to get things on track, there's no arguing that Lovie Smith's Texans defense last season, got off to a much better start, limiting the Colts to 20 points, and the Broncos to 16 points. DeMeco's new-look defense gave up 25 to the Ravens, and 31 to the Colts.

Last year's team also managed to avoid an 0-2 start, tying the Colts 20-20 in Week 1.

However, the Texans passing offense showed a lot of potential, with CJ Stroud throwing for 384 yards and 2 TDs. Houston had three different receivers record over 70 yards, with Nico Collins leading the way with 7 catches for 146 yards.

No matter how determined OC Bobby Slowik was to establish the run on Sunday, it just didn't happen. Dameon Pierce led the team in rushing with 31 yards on 15 carries. And with a WHOPPING 4 backups starting on the offensive line, Slowik would have been better off ditching the ground game sooner. Especially with the team trailing by multiple scores for most of the game.

The coaching has to be the biggest area of concern moving forward, but CJ Stroud provided a silver lining Houston fans should be excited about. It's early, but it looks like the Texans found themselves a QB, and potentially, a high-powered offense to root for on Sundays.

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With the end of the regular season in sight, the Houston Astros host the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, coming off a huge walk-off 2-1 win against the Orioles.

Two players from the finale against Baltimore really stood out for the 'Stros. Jeremy Pena, who had a clutch double late in the game, and Cristian Javier.

Javier struck out 11 batters over 5 innings surrendering only one run, which was exactly what the Astros needed in possibly the most important game of the regular season.

Both Pena and Javier were critical pieces to the Astros title in 2022, and it looks like they're rounding into form at just the right time.

Javier's struggles have caused many to question who would be the team's third starter in the postseason, behind Framber Valdez and Justin Verlander. Let's put this to bed right now, it's Javier.

This should be everything you need to know. Let's start with Hunter Brown. Brown has given up 5 earned runs or more in 4 of his last 7 starts.

How about JP France? France has surrendered 5 or more earned runs in 3 of his last 5 games.

However, Cristian Javier hasn't allowed 5 or more runs in a start since July 3. Javier may only give you 5 innings, but that's actually pretty common for starters in the playoffs. Teams typically remove their starters before the third time through the order.

Prime Time Pena

While the power hasn't been there for Pena this year, he is swinging the bat much better of late. Over his last 30 games, he's hitting .325 while slugging .453. Pena may only have 10 bombs on the year, but he's getting on base and hitting plenty of doubles.

If these two can contribute at a similar level to last postseason, the sky is the limit for the 2023 Astros.

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