Here’s why we’re not buying national media’s “expectations” for Houston Texans

NOT BUYING IT

Pat McAfee, Texans CJ Stroud, JJ Watt
Will the Texans be able to handle high expectations this season? Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After all the Texans additions this offseason, their position in the NFL power rankings and Super Bowl odds have skyrocketed. With that being the case, the Texans do have detractors.

ESPN's Shannon Sharpe still has the Bills, Chiefs, Ravens, and Dolphins in front of the Texans, and even Houston legend JJ Watt shared some concerns on The Pat McAfee Show.

Basically saying the excitement and expectations have escalated so fast, it's starting to become unrealistic. However, Watt also said the team is “uniquely positioned” to handle the situation with leaders like CJ Stroud and DeMeco Ryans.

However, we don't think expectations being raised will be the reason the Texans don't take a step forward this season. Stroud dealt with high expectations last year, being a serious MVP candidate and front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year for most of the season.

Plus, this team is more talented than the 2023 roster. Even though Houston will have to deal with a tougher schedule in 2024, we believe the Texans have the firepower to succeed.

Speaking of firepower, the addition of Stefon Diggs should give the offense a huge boost. And not just in the passing game. We believe Diggs will improve the running game by just being on the field.

The Texans faced the 6th-highest rate of stacked boxes last year. That's not going to happen this season with Diggs, Nico Collins, and Tank Dell on the field at the same time. The addition of Diggs and Joe Mixon should give Stroud something crucial that he didn't have last year to lean on, an effective running game.

Finally, we discuss a recent article on CBS Sports that predicts Diggs will return to his superstar form in 2024. Diggs' numbers took a downturn in Week 10 when the team changed offensive coordinators. After looking at these shocking stats, it's no surprise his numbers took a nosedive after the OC change.

We'll give you a little taste of what we're talking about. “Diggs had just 23 receiving yards on play action in nine games” with OC Joe Brady, compared to 346 yards prior to the OC change.

Play action is one of the things the Texans do best. You know Houston OC Bobby Slowik is going to use play action to get him open downfield. You can take that to the bank.

And that's just one of the many reasons we expect big things from Diggs in 2024. Be sure to watch the video above as we reveal more evidence confirming Diggs will return to form this season.

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This is a critical stretch for Houston. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros welcomed Jose Abreu back on Monday night against the Mariners. He went 1-3 in the Astros' 3-2 loss.

The 'Stros are now 4.5 games behind the Mariners in the AL West, and have to find a way to at least split the series to stay within striking distance.

And just when we thought the pitching staff might be receiving some reinforcements, we learned over the weekend that Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier are dealing with forearm discomfort.

They are expected to be evaluated by team doctors on Tuesday, and Javier has already been placed on the injured list.

The heart of the lineup

Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez continue to struggle at the plate. Bregman is four for his last 40, and Alvarez has two home runs in the month of May.

Clutch gene?

The Astros have only one win when down after seven innings, and zero when down after eight innings. Clearly, Breggy and Yordan's issues at the plate are playing a role in these losses.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion!

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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