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Rockets and Astros might win again before Texans do

Rockets and Astros might win again before Texans do
Deshaun Watson is not enough. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Last week I was pleading with Houston sports fans to stop crying. Despite the incessant crying, Houston sports fans have a lot to be happy about. The Astros just won a World Series. The Rockets are poised to make a run at another title. The Texans, on the other hand, are a different story.

Early season struggles be damned, the Astros have what it takes to be the first MLB team to repeat since the Yankees won three in a row from ’98-’00. The pitching staff is loaded. Although starter-heavy, I think the bullpen will get figured out eventually. The bats may be hit or miss for now. But a baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. Water always finds its level, and so will the Astros’ lineup.

The Rockets dropped Game 3 against the Timberwolves, but dominated in Game 4. Game 5 on Wednesday should be the swansong for Minnesota, and a moving on ceremony for the Rockets. They will get Luc Mbah a Moute back at some point, which will add to their rotation. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say so until proven wrong: this team can win an NBA title this season.

Which bring us to the Texans. This team has some serious flaws, despite giving the appearance of being a “sexy pick” to make some noise this year. They don’t have a first or second round pick in this year’s draft. Instead, they used those picks to trade out of a bad quarterback and back into a franchise quarterback. That said, none of this would be necessary had they done a better job in previous years. The free agent class they brought in only had one recognizable name/difference maker in safety Tyrann Mathieu. I’ve spoken with some credible sources who believe he may not be used as effectively here as he was in Arizona. Cornerback Aaron Colvin should provide decent depth at the position, but this unit needs more playmakers, not more role players. Moves along the offensive line may pan out, and they may not. Offensive line play is as much about talent as it is about chemistry and scheme. Senio Kelemete, Zach Fulton, and Seantrel Henderson should improve the line, but an improvement isn’t saying much considering how abysmal they were previously.

Did I mention the Texans’ two most prolific pass rushers are coming off season-ending injuries? J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus shouldn’t be expected to return to form this season. Jadeveon Clowney is a monster off the edge, but could use some help from the aforementioned duo. When a team’s pass rush isn’t up to par and its secondary can’t cover a kindergartner with a king-sized blanket, that’s a recipe for disaster. This defense “fell from top 10 to not mentioned at all” to borrow a line from Jay Z.

That said, I firmly believe the Astros and Rockets will win championships again before the Texans win one. The Texans are in no shape to contend at the moment, and don’t have the necessary tools to build a winner this offseason. Maybe after the next couple offseasons, provided they use their draft picks and cap space wisely, people will begin to take the Texans seriously as a contender. Until then, the only hope in Houston sports for titles will lie in the Astros and Rockets.  

 

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CJ Stroud and Will Anderson Jr both made the list. Composite Getty Image.

Coming off a surprising playoff run with a rookie quarterback in 2023, expectations couldn't be higher for the Houston Texans heading into 2024.

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco recently put his 2024 NFL Top 100 players list together, which includes six Texans players. Here's how Prisco has them ranked, and his outlook for the season.

No. 99 Edge Rusher Will Anderson Jr.

Just squeezing in the Top 100 is the Defensive Rookie of the Year, Will Anderson. “He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year after getting seven sacks. But he was much more than those sack numbers and his talent shows a player who can take a big jump to 12-15 sacks this season,” said Prisco.

No. 80 Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

Next on the list is ballhawking corner Derek Stingley Jr. Prisco weighed in on Houston's standout defensive back. “After a disappointing 2022 rookie season, he flashed star potential last year for the Texans. He is a long corner who is capable of matching up in coverage with the game's best receivers.”

No. 77 Wide Receiver Nico Collins

This is where we see the first offensive player makes the list. Prisco shares his thoughts on Houston's top pass catcher. “After having 70 catches in his first two seasons, he had his breakout season in 2023 with 80 catches and a 16.2 yard-per-catch average. He is truly a big-play threat who should continue to grow with quarterback C.J. Stroud.”

No. 57 Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil

Prisco adds another offensive player to his list here. “He is one of the best in the league in pass protection, which is great news for C.J. Stroud. His ability to hold up in one-on-one situations is key to their offense,” said Prisco.

No. 38 Quarterback CJ Stroud

Can Stroud deliver an impressive sophomore season? “He was special as a rookie, leading the Texans to the playoffs. Now comes the hard part: Doing it again. I don't think that will be a problem because he has the look of being a star for a long time,” said Prisco.

No. 35 Danielle Hunter

The final player to make the list is the Texans' prized offseason addition. “He had 16 1/2 sacks for the Vikings last season, continuing to be a force off the edge. In Houston, he will team with Will Anderson Jr. to give the Texans a nice duo of pass rushers,” Prisco said.

One glaring omission is Texans superstar receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs had a down year in 2023 based on his standards. But don't be surprised if Diggs makes this list next year after a bounce back season with Stroud pulling the trigger at QB. And he'll be highly motivated, with the possibility of another mega-contract in sight.


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