Thursday on First Take, Stephen A. Smith, Domonique Foxworth, and Max Kellerman debated which QB was more likely to become the face of the NFL.
The QB that wins the game will clearly get a boost, but how these teams perform in the playoffs will certainly play a factor as well.
Check out the video and see if you agree with Stephen A. Smith's points about Watson.
Oct 23, 2023, 4:58 pm
Entering week eight in the NFL, the Houston Texans are in second place in the AFC South. At 3-3, I wonder how many people actually saw them entering week eight with a legit shot at winning the AFC South? Be honest. There were very few people who thought it was possible. The most hardcore fans would say they had a shot, but I wonder how many of them truly believed? Now that we've got about a third of the season as a sample size, it's time to rethink things.
Watching the development of C.J. Stroud is the primary factor in this reconsideration. He's grown into the franchise guy. I'm talking about the leader this team needs. Dare I say, the face of the franchise? Any time a team leans heavily on the pass game, it's typically from a vet. For a rookie to do what he's doing is beyond impressive. If the run game ever gets going, this offense will be really scary.
The defense has some work to do, but you can see the vision. Will Anderson Jr and Jonathan Greenard are a nice tandem off the edge. The safety play of Jalen Pitre has been a revelation since he stepped on the field. Christian Harris has the athleticism, but needs more reps. All these guys are still on rookie contracts. All of them seem to fit DeMeco Ryans' system very well. Getting Derek Stingley Jr back and healthy will be huge. His play will be another major key.
Looking at the division, the Jags (5-2) were picked by many to win the AFC South. In yards per game, they have the 4th ranked run defense, but the 31st ranked pass defense. The Texans are pass heavy right now, so this feeds into their plans. This series historically belongs to the Texans. They lead the 43 game series 29-14 and are 10-1 in their last 11 vs. the Jags. To say the Texans own them wouldn't necessarily be untrue. They share them with Shad Khan actually.
The team just behind the Texans in the standings are the Colts. Their hot shot rookie quarterback, Anthony Richardson, is out for the season after shoulder surgery. While they have the best defense in the division, their offense just lost a dynamic playmaker at the most important position. Sorry, but Gardner Minshew and Sam Ehlinger do not strike fear in anyone. If either of those guys were that good, one of them would've been starting over the rookie. That, or they'd be starting somewhere else. And that vaunted defense isn't as scary this year either, giving up over 350 yards per game.
Then there are the Titans. At 2-4, they're resting at the bottom of the barrel in this division. Derrick Henry was the subject of trade rumors in the offseason. He's responded with a 4.3 per carry average, only a tick below his career 4.7 average. They brought back Ryan Tannehill after drafting Malik Willis last year and Will Levis this last draft. Willis is the backup and Levis is the emergency guy. Neither could beat out Tannehill, and he was expected to be cut in favor of one of those guys. That tells you all you need to know about the Titans. They're terrible and the Texans should beat them up.
While the Texans are still putting their team together and have a few pieces left to fill, they clearly have enough to be able to win this division. The Jags are good, but aren't scary. The Colts don't have enough firepower and their defense isn't as good. The Titans are awful. They can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. If the Texans can hold it together, they can win this division. The Jags are their main competition and they own them. Once this team figures out a few things and add a few pieces, it could be their division for a long time to come. They'll have to keep pace with the changes their division makes, of course, but I like where this is going. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you can run. The crawling starts with having a winning season and winning the division for the first time since 2019.