Houston Texans Looking Sharp
Houston Texans Looking Sharp
By Tony Salinas
The Houston Texans ended up being a disappointment last year. For much of the season they looked like a potential #1 seed in the AFC…and certainly a bye team at worst. But, a late-regular season drubbing at New England by a score of 42-14 seemed to shatter their confidence. Houston would get upset by Minnesota and Indianapolis in their last two games to fall down to a #3 seed.
All that got them was a grinding 19-13 playoff win over Cincinnati, before another double digit loss in New England.
Are the Texans capable of climbing the ladder to the very top of the AFC in 2013?
Their Preseason opener last week sure made it look like the team was on a mission. Houston dominated Minnesota on the road in a 27-13 victory. Quarterback Matt Schaub was a perfect 5 for 5 passing in limited playing time. Everyone saw what they needed to see there. Backup QB T.J. Yates had a TD pass in the second quarter on his way to 151 yards in the air. Even third teamer Case Keenum from the University of Houston, played well, leading the Texans to a 14-0 fourth quarter win. (Many Preseason games are won and covered by third teamers!).
I like seeing teams take care of business like that. It speaks well of the head coach, and the attitude up and down the roster when a team bounces back from a late season disappointment with that level of focus.
I’m fairly optimistic about Houston at least matching last year’s level of play in the overall Power Ratings. But, they’re likely to have a much tougher schedule…which will make it tough to post a fantastic record.
Houston drew the NFC West this year, which means both San Francisco and Seattle. Worse, they have to play those teams in consecutive weeks! Games 4 and 5 of the 2013 campaign will be vs. Seattle and at San Francisco. Brutal!
Oh, by the way, those Seattle and San Francisco games come right after visiting Super Bowl winner Baltimore in Game 3! I expect Houston to focus very hard on taking care of business in their first two games at San Diego and vs. Tennessee because the rest of September and all of October are going to be a real challenge.
Because Houston won its division last year, they get first place finishers from the rest of the AFC on their new schedule. You already know about Baltimore. At least New England has to come down to Texas to play this year.
It’s far from a brutal schedule overall, given that Houston gets two games with both Jacksonville and Tennessee. They also drew the AFC South this year...which might offer up a couple of gifts (including the season opener at San Diego based on how the Chargers are playing so far). But…it’s going to be tough to post something like a 14-2 or 13-3 record with so many probable powers on the slate. So...same basic Power Rating, but a won-lost record that may not earn a bye.
Here’s my plan for handicapping Houston at the moment:
Expect the best when they play weak opponents
Expect the offense to score points and run clock vs. weak defenses
Use the Baltimore game as an indicator for what to expect the next two weeks vs. Seattle and San Francisco…then use those three as indicators for any matchups with playoff contenders later in the season (like New England and Denver, and maybe even Indianapolis and Kansas City).
If Houston is going to be a real Super Bowl threat, they’ll tell us in that killer sequence in games 3-4-5. If they’re just going to repeat last year, where they dominate bad teams but lose their confidence when tested, we get to find out much earlier this time around.
I might have a play Saturday in Miami/Houston. Good spot for the Texans in some ways, but the Dolphins had that head start because of the Hall-of-Fame game. I will definitely have something special for you in the six-game card...as well as releases Sunday and Monday in the NFL. You can always purchase my top daily plays here at the website, as well as my seasonal football package.
Don’t take the worst of it by betting your own hunches and leans. GET THE BEST OF IT with proven winner and LAS VEGAS LEGEND TONY SALINAS!
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