CODY STOOTS: 3 headlines, 2 questions, 1 bet

Texans have plenty to be thankful for these days

Justin Reid (left) has been a find, and J.J. Watt has remained healthy. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Texans winning ways continue and they have plenty to be thankful for ahead of Thursday. Here's three headlines, two questions, and one bet to get you ready for turkey week:

"We Don't Want to Be Known for a Record That Was Set in 1925"

The Texans tied a record set by the 1925 New York Giants who won seven games after dropping their first three. Bill O'Brien joked he saw that team play but stressed the team hasn't "done anything" this season. He said they have done a great job of digging themselves out of the hole but they want to accomplish more. He stressed they have a big game coming up against the Titans and want to beat a team that already has a win over them. 

"In the end, what have you done?" O'Brien said. 

Right now, they have won seven straight which is the longest winning streak in the AFC and second to the Saints and their nine-game winning streak. They have a two-game lead over the Titans who they host in a week and the Colts who they host at home in a few weeks. They are nipping at the heels of the Steelers who currently own the third spot in the AFC. 

What they still have to show is a consistent offense. Deshaun Watson threw two interceptions but O'Brien excused Watson on the intercepted screen. O'Brien said he would have liked the play call back. The other interception Watson failed to get a steady footing with the rush around him and didn't quite make it over the Washington defender to hit Keke Coutee. 

Their rushing attack showed signs of life but they will need to get both elements of the offense clicking if they have designs on winning the AFC South and securing a playoff spot. 

"It Left a Pretty Big Chip"

Justin Reid has played like a first rounder. That's what Tyrann Mathieu thinks of his play and it's what your eyes show you too. 

His latest accomplishment is what Bill O'Brien called the "play of the game" as he took the ball back 101 yards for a touchdown on an interception to create what seemed like a 14-point swing. 

Reid is consistently in the right spots and with the ever-changing landscape of the secondary due to injury, he has fit in just right wherever he has ended up. It's amazing in the current NFL he ended up a third round selection. 

SportsMap and ESPN 97.5's Lance Zeirlein had a first or second round grade on him on and an anonymous executive explained to Zeirlein he thought he could sneak into the first round. 

"We're glad he isn't," Mathieu joked. The veteran safety said Reid didn't play or act like a rookie on the field. 

"31 teams passed on me twice, it left a pretty big chip," said Reid. He's one of many rookies contributing to a great degree for the Texans but his play this season has put him in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year. 

Kicking Operation

Ka'imi Fairbairn missed two of his five kicks to bring his miss total to five field goals and one extra point. His last miss of 45 yards would have given the Texans a five-point lead and forced Washington to score a touchdown with backup quarterback Colt McCoy in for the injured Alex Smith. 

There is plenty of conversation to be had about long snapper Jon Weeks and holder Trevor Daniel. Daniel is replacing Shane Lechler as the holder and it would appear sometimes he fails to get the ball in the ideal situation for Fairbairn be it proper laces placement or steadiness of the ball. 

"He made a big kick. He missed a big kick. All right, so, we move on to the next and we try to correct maybe some technique issues and we move on to Tennessee," said Bill O'Brien. Later he added more about the burden for Daniel and Weeks. 

"The operation is the key. It's gotta be a perfect snap. It's gotta be a perfect hold with the proper side of the ball, with the belly of the ball showing not the laces."

O'Brien said he liked the operation on the final kick was good but Fairbairn didn't get enough of it. The head coach also stressed there is a slim margin for error in the operation and though it may seem elementary they work on it hundreds of times a day.

Fairbairn maintains he just didn't strike the last attempt well. He said he's excited for the opportunity to kick again this week. He said he also trusts Weeks and Daniel to put in the work to improve and he trusts them to do their job each time and he worries about his part of the kicking game. 

Quite simply, the kicking could cost the Texans a game and may have already cost them one. The miss in the Tennessee game looms as it was a three-point margin of defeat. His Colts miss is a miss for almost any kicker as he was no good from 59 yards and he did hit the game winner in overtime. His miss from 48 yards against Dallas helped send the game to overtime. His miss of the extra point in Denver nearly cost the Texans and would have had the Broncos made the kick. 

When will Demaryius Thomas show up?

Yesterday the big trade acquisition saw just one target bringing his total in two games to four targets with three catches and 61 yards. Bill O'Brien's offense has often been lauded as an offense that it is tough for wide receivers to pick up quick, but Thomas will need to do some catching up to be a factor. 

"I think with (Thomas) we've got to look at that as an offensive staff," O'Brien said. He mentioned Thomas "did some good things" but the ball didn't find him. 

If the Texans are going to win the AFC South Thomas will be a key part of their journey. With Keke Coutee's injury history they can't bank on him being there all season and at some point, they will have to find stuff for Thomas, even if there is a slight element of forcing it. 

What should the Texans be thankful for this season?

O'Brien mentioned the team would be off on Thursday this week and pointed out how often their players are out in the community giving back to the people of Houston and when the players go back home as well. He mentioned the team is very proud of the player's community effort. 

O'Brien also revealed Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. 

"I think Thanksgiving is awesome. It's football. It's turkey. It's stuffing. It's a couple Coors Lights and watch some football."

Here are 11 things the Texans should be thankful for this year:

J.J. Watt is healthy.

Jadeveon Clowney is healthy.

Deshaun Watson is healthy.

Justin Reid fell to the third round.

Kareem Jackson plays safety at a high level.

Johnathan Joseph has stayed relatively ageless.

Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue have been good enough.

Keke Coutee is the first real slot threat in years.

The Texans didn't sign Nate Solder.

The Jaguars didn't draft Lamar Jackson.

Frank Reich handed them a win.

I bet the Texans are out for revenge against the Titans on Monday Night Football. This team has to know they let one slip away against Tennessee. The Titans have been somewhat impressive at times but the likelihood they hoodwink and confuse the Texans again is slim. The defense has settled into a better level than week two and the offense has started to solidify shaky parts as well. Getting one back against Tennessee would go a very long way towards winning the AFC South and securing a playoff spot. 

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NASCAR is coming to Texas! Photo via: Wiki Commons

It’s an All-Star weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. As most fans know, this race is extremely different from what we see on a usual Sunday. This race is an invitational event featuring the winners from the 2021 and 2022 seasons with a few qualifiers including past champions and past All-Star winners over the last ten seasons. As it does every year, the format for this race has changed. It will be divided into four stages, and the winner of each of the first three stages will take up the first three spots on the grid (as long as they finish 15th or higher). The final stage will be fifty laps and if there is no caution between laps 15-25, then the yellow will be thrown to stack everything up. Probably the most important and intriguing change to the format won’t take place on race day, but during qualifying. The field will be given one lap and the fastest eight will advance to the final round, where they will each face-off head-to-head in a bracket. Each paring will have a mandatory pit-stop before exiting, and the first car back to the finish line moves on. This is a unique way of deciding who starts where, I would not be surprised in the slightest if it comes back somewhere down the line in the future

Last week, Kurt Busch went on to score his first victory of the year. It didn’t come easy for the 2004 champion, he had to fend off Kyle Larson and his brother Kyle Busch. The race was marred by numerous tire failures, as it seemed drivers could only go 25-35 laps before running into an issue. Luckily for Kurt, the cautions fell at the right time and he was able to manage his tires as he dominated the race by leading a race-high 116 laps. This was the first win for the #45 car at 23XII racing, as now both Busch and his teammate Bubba Wallace both have victories. While it’s been a frustrating season for this team, this win couldn’t have come at a better time.

While Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan celebrated their team win, Stewart-Haas racing was on the opposite end of the spectrum. All four of their cars finished outside the top ten, including their franchise driver Kevin Harvick. It’s worth noting that despite the disastrous day that he had, Harvick could bounce back with a respectable 15th-place finish. This team has a lot of questions regarding the future of their driver lineup. We know that next season Aric Almirola will retire, but after that who will fill the seat? Will it be their reserve driver Ryan Preece? Could it even be Kyle Busch? With these types of disappointing results from Harvick, many have wondered if he might decide to retire at the end of the 2022 season. This will be a team to follow in the coming months.

As we reach the dog days of summer, the infamous silly season is right around the corner. This is when the rumors start to become louder and louder about who will go next season and what rides will be available. As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Busch is easily the biggest question on the grid, with Mars leaving at season's end, can Joe Gibbs racing find him a sponsor to keep him in the #18 Toyota? There were reports on Thursday that the team was in negotiations with a “major tech company” to sponsor the car for one season. It’s clear that re-signing the two-time champion is the number one priority for Joe Gibbs and Toyota. TRD Executive David Wilson stated that losing him would be, “Unacceptable.” It will be interesting to see this story develop.

With that, the driver I have winning the All-Star Race this weekend is none other than Kyle Busch. Overall, it’s hard to find active drivers with better stats here at this track than him as he’s won here four times, the most among the field. He’s also led over 1,069 laps here, almost more than double the amount of the next closest driver (Martin Truex Jr with 674). When Jimmie Johnson stepped away from the sport in 2020, it was clear that the torch was handed over to Kyle as the best driver at this racetrack. He will be the driver to beat for the million dollars when the checkered flag falls.

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