The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider
Texans are in a position to turn things around fast
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It’s so not the start we expected.
Yes, we’re talking the Texans. The team we thought would be – worst case – 1-1 after the first two games. We even had hopes of 2-0 dancing through our heads. Who wouldn’t with a healthy Deshaun Watson working his offensive magic and a full-speed J.J. Watt taking the defense up a few levels.
Instead we’re looking at 0-2 with the home opener on the horizon. Shaking your head? Thinking slow start? Or worse?
Yes the last two weeks have been a mess. Slow starts. Mistakes. Turnovers. Head-scratching decisions. Dropped passes. Turnovers. Only three sacks?
Sigh all you want. But don’t write this season off.
Houston, there is a solution.
We’re here to tell you that the playoffs are still within reach. Forget about that stat everyone’s hammering hard - only 10.9 percent of the NFL teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. Yes, 1-1 would have been better, but it is what it is.
With the desperate and stumbling Giants heading to NRG Sunday for a battle of 0-2s then a trip to Indianapolis followed by a Sunday night home game with the Dallas Cowboys and a home matchup against the Buffalo Bills . . . well, this is definitely the stretch to make up some ground.
Run the tables and the Texans are at 4-2 and that chance of making the playoffs just jumped to 62.3 percent. Go 3-3 and Houston has a 38.3 percent chance of extra games. Go 2-4 and it drops precipitously to 8.6.
Start 0-4 and . . . well if a team did that it could tie the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the only teams to make it to the playoffs. But, let’s not go there.
The bottom line here is the Texans are close. Maybe thisclose.
A 1993 Dallas Cowboys close? That year an Emmitt Smith contract dispute meant 0-2 start for the Cowboys but, once signed, Smith led them to the Super Bowl XXVIII title.
Different situation, but . . .
What we do know is Watson has shown flashes of what could be – even with a struggling offensive line. The running game – without D’onta Foreman who is out until at least late October – is solid. All-pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins is still one of the best in the league and Will Fuller is on Fire!
And then there’s the fact they opened the season with back-to-back road games. Now, they’ll play three of the next four in NRG. Hmmm.
Regardless, Sunday will feature Hopkins and the Giants’ Odell Beckham, two of the best receivers and playmakers in the game. Edge to . . well, when asked what Hopkins did well, Watson didn’t hesitate.
"Everything. There's nothing that he can't do."
Assuming the Watson – Hopkins, or Watson – Fuller connection is on point as expected . . . well, it would then be up to the Texans’ defense to limit Beckham – on offense and as a returner – and slow down the very dangerous Saquon Barkley.
For the most part, the Texans are taking it a day at a time. Will Jadeveon Clowney be back? Will Fuller? Will the play calling and focus and intensity be there Sunday?
“Can’t get ahead of ourselves and can’t look back on the previous games,’’ Watson said. “You got to focus on that day and today’s Wednesday, and focus in on the game plan and try be the best we can today, and then we’ll focus on tomorrow when it comes.”
If nothing else, your takeaway from the first two games should be those flashes you did see and that the Texans are better than 0-2. They could have won both games – losing to the Patriots by 7 and the Titans by 3. Things obviously could have gone better, and mistakes need to be corrected.
But, if they learn from that . . .
Well, the 2015 Texans were a much different team - as was the competition - but they too started 0-2 and won the AFC South.
Time to turn it around boys.