Raheel Ramzanali: How good does your offensive line have to be to win the Super Bowl?

The Texans offensive line was bad last year. This year one website says it is the worst. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Working in sports radio in the month of July is a blast because we get to repeat storylines and talk NFL without seeing any of our questions answered for another two months. One storyline that is hot right now is the Texans O-line. Pro Football Focus was not high on them and had them ranked 32nd as a unit. On paper, this O-line is not good, but man, when Deshaun and the offense were rolling, we weren’t questioning the line as much as we are now. So, is it possible to win with a below average line in the NFL?

Using the adjusted run and pass rankings from Football Outsiders, I looked at where the final four teams ranked in both run and pass. You can see the breakdown of what Football Outsiders uses to measure O-line play here. Note: after talking to several NFL writers and “gurus,” these rankings were the best to use since they only accounted for the regular season and looked at key indicators and not human grades.

2013 (Run/Pass)

  • San Francisco 29/22

  • Seattle 9/32

  • New England 1/9

  • Denver 8/1


  • Indianapolis 16/7

  • New England 5/2

  • Green Bay 8/13

  • Seattle 4/24


  • Arizona 3/5

  • Carolina 12/21

  • New England 2/18

  • Denver 17/13


  • Pittsburgh 3/4

  • New England 9/6

  • Green Bay 19/11

  • Atlanta 10/23


  • Minnesota 19/6

  • Philadelphia 22/12

  • Jacksonville 13/5

  • New England 1/13

Here are some key takeaways for me:

  • The average run ranking for the eventual champion was 12.4 and the average pass ranking was 13. Basically, you have to be slightly better than average in both the run and pass to win it all.

  • The best pass protection line out of the four only won it all once, New England in 2014.

  • The best run line out of the four never won it all in the last five years.

  • Seattle was the only team with a pass protection score less than 13 to win it all and that team did it with defense.

  • The only constant in the last five years is that New England will be in the final four and the will more than likely have a top 10 unit both run and pass.

This column is by no means an attack on offensive linemen and their importance, but rather a look at how having a just above average O-line doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Texans fans, don’t let the constant badgering of your unit by sports radio hosts change your prediction of the Texans winning it all.


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Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

UPDATE: With the Angels loss on Friday night, the Astros have secured their playoff berth. They will be part of the MLB postseason for their fourth-straight season.

After the big offensive showing to take the opener on Thursday, the Astros entered Friday's game at Globe Life Field against the Rangers just one win or Angels loss away from securing their spot in the playoffs. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 5, Astros 4.

Record: 29-29, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 1.98 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-3, 3.05 ERA).

Urquidy goes seven while allowing two

The Rangers would strike first in Friday's game, getting a two-out solo home run against Jose Urquidy in the bottom of the second to grab the early 1-0 lead. Urquidy did relatively well on the night, though he would allow another solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Those were the only two runs he allowed, working in and out of some trouble throughout the game on his way to finishing seven innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 98 P.

Houston grabs their first lead late

Unlike their hot night at the plate the night prior, it took the Astros until the fifth inning to get on the board. It came after Carlos Correa hit a leadoff single, then came all the way around to score on an RBI-triple by George Springer, making it a 1-1 tie at the time.

After the Rangers went back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on their second solo homer of the night, Alex Bregman would tie it up again with a solo home run of his own, making it 2-2. Houston would get their first lead of the night in the top of the eighth, with Altuve working a leadoff walk before scoring later in the inning on an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel.

Rangers get the walk-off to keep Houston waiting for playoff bid

After Urquidy, Blake Taylor would take over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the Rangers in order for a scoreless inning to hold the one-run lead. Still 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Houston turned to their closer, Ryan Pressly. After two quick outs, he would allow a game-tying solo home run, making it 3-3 to postpone Houston's celebration at least another inning as the game headed to extras.

In the top of the tenth, Jose Altuve was placed on second as the free runner. He advanced to third on a groundout to start the inning, then scored on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it a 4-3 lead for Houston. Enoli Paredes would load the bases before Texas would tie the game on a sac fly in the bottom of the inning, keeping runners on second and third. Houston made the change to Brooks Raley to try and extend the game another inning, but instead, the Rangers would get the walk-off win, spoiling Houston's chance to clinch their playoff spot themselves with a win.

Up Next: The third game of this four-game set will get underway at 6:05 PM Central on Saturday. On the mound for Texas will be Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87 ERA), and, as of now, the Astros still have Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA) listed as their starter.

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