Every-Thing Sports

What the next few games will say about the Texans moving forward

Now things really get interesting for the Texans. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Texans got their first win of the season over the Jags. The 30-14 win showed us a few things about this team. Fred Faour wrote his five observations right after the game. With Bill O'Brien being fired, I wrote about Romeo Crennel and his staff's job coaching. Ken Hoffman even graced us with his presence when he wrote about J.J. Watt's influence on O'Brien's firing.

Needless to say, this team looks a lot different in this one game than what they have in the previous four games. Could it be addition by subtraction? Is the monkey of O'Brien's iron fist off the collective backs of the players he once lorded over? Or, could it be that this team is destined for mediocrity no matter what due to poor ownership and management?

These next 6 games mean everything for the Texans

The next six games against the Titans (3-0), Packers (4-0), Jags (1-4), Browns (4-1), Patriots (2-2), and Lions (1-3) are very important. These games will be a window to what will become of this franchise moving forward. Being in search of a new head coach and general manager with the roster in flux, draft picks scarce, and cap space taken up on ridiculous extensions makes things harder on whoever they hire to follow Butt Chin. But what about the immediate future? What's in store for this franchise in the next few weeks?

For starters, they play the AFC South division leading Titans. Whether the Titans' game is played Tuesday, canceled, or postponed because of positive COVID tests, they'll be at a disadvantage come this Sunday. As bad as the Texans defense has been, the Titans defense has been just as bad, if not worse statistically. They average giving up more yards per game (434.7 vs 403) than the Texans despite being a power run, ball control first offense.

The Packers are a different animal and present a different set of issues. It'll be a home game for the Texans, but will it have any effect on Aaron Rodgers? The Packers are putting up 38 points per game and 454.3 yards per game while giving up 25.3 points a game on 374.8 yards. It'll be a challenge on both sides of the ball. This could be a statement game for Deshaun Watson if he's able to outduel one of the best quarterbacks and a surefire Hall Of Famer in Aaron Rodgers.

Another matchup against the Jags should yield similar results as the first as long as the Texans don't take them lightly. If they lose to the Packers, which is highly likely, this would be the perfect get right game. They should be either 3-5 or 4-4 after this game. After eight games played and starting 0-4, to 3-5 or 4-4 would be remarkable. If they're 2-6, it wouldn't be as good, but would symbolize a 2-2 record post-O'Brien, so there's something to build off there.

The post-O'Brien era has to be symbolized by progress. There's only so much they can do with the roster to reshape and evolve. Positive change has to come from what's already on Kirby right now and what'll be there moving forward. It'll take some time to put this franchise in position to succeed for the foreseeable future. Once they're in a position to get out of O'Brien Hell, Watson will be eligible for another big money deal. Remaining relevant is a key to keeping Watson. The fact that he will be a key factor in their next head coach and general manager search is understandable. He's their franchise quarterback. The true franchise guys only come around so often. When you get one, you do whatever you can to surround him with pieces to make him successful. If these next few games go their way, we could be looking at a new Texans squad and the emergence of Watson as a top five quarterback in the league. Be patient Texans fans. I feel the best is yet to come!

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Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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