Texans secondary decimated; also lose key wide receiver

Injuries pile up during loss to Eagles

Demaryius Thomas was carted off. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Texans lost more than just the game against the Eagles in Philidelphia on Sunday. Injuries mounted before and during the game helping the Eagles best the Texans in the closing moments with a field goal.

No injury will sting as much as the loss of Demaryius Thomas. He went down without contact on a screen play in the fourth quarter. He was then carted off the field, unable to put weight on his injured leg. He was officially ruled out with an Achilles injury. It is the second Achilles injury in Thomas' career. He was traded for earlier in the season to replace Will Fuller who was lost for the season due to injury.

Rookie wideout Vyncint Smith caught a touchdown in Thomas' absence hauling in a 35-yard perfectly placed pass from Deshaun Watson. Smith is the only outside receiver besides DeAndre Hopkins as the team released Sammie Coates earlier in the week.

The secondary didn't fare well either. Johnathan Joseph left the game in the second half with a neck injury and was questionable to return (though he later did). Earlier in the game Kareem Jackson left with a knee injury and didn't return to the game. Kayvon Webster, who was recently activated for this game off the Reserve/Injured list, didn't finish the game. He hurt his thigh. Earlier in the season Webster made his debut and lasted just two plays before heading to the previously mentioned list.

Starting left guard Senio Kelemete missed the game due to illness. Martinas Rankin started in his place allowing a few pressures and committing a couple of false start penalties.

Lamar Miller, the team's leading rusher, and rookie pass catcher Keke Coutee didn't make the trip to Philadelphia. Miller has an ankle injury while Coutee has been missing time with a hamstring injury.

The injuries in the secondary are very concerning as they all seem to be things that could linger beyond the week. It is safe to assume Thomas will be done for the year meaning Smith will have to step up or the team will need to find help in free agency.

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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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