The Texans were less than mediocre last week against the only decent opponent the team has played all year. Now that they are playing the only other team in the AFC above .500 it stands to reason that if they come out and lay another egg like they did last week, they will no longer be considered a top-five team in the league. While it is impossible to call this a must-win game for a team that will still likely have their division wrapped up by week 12, it isn’t a stretch to say that to earn respect around the league this game is must-win.
Until notified otherwise J.J. Watt is a beast. This will save time at the beginning of any article discussing the defense and allow us to go more in depth on the remainder of the Bulls on Parade.
The Ninja Assassin has been having a good year by anyone’s standards but because he plays for the Texans he isn’t even the best defensive end on his team. I don’t look for that to change, however I do expect a big game out of Smith against a Baltimore team that has inexplicably decided, even though they have arguably the best running back in the league, that they are a passing team.
With the front seven able to pin their ears back and get after the passer the Texans are at their best. Last week was bad, but you only play the MVP on his A+ game once per year so hopefully we can put that behind us. Rodgers was playing out of his mind and Flacco, whatever you think of the guy, doesn’t possess nearly as much skill.
Connor Barwin had two sacks stolen from him last week by Rodgers escapability and if he gets after Flacco like he did last week then week seven will be the end of the Barwin sack drought. Brooks Reed played well against the Raven last year as well and hopefully that will translate to this year.
The secondary was bad last week, but as I said earlier Rodgers was a freakin terminator last week sent destroy the Texans. He may have thrown for six touchdowns but the Texans killed themselves with penalties on five separate drive-ending plays that led to three Packers touchdowns. If they come out and play Houston Texans football i.e. not committing dumb turnovers, they should have a bounce back week.
More concerning than the fact that Johnathan Joseph has had back-to-back below average weeks, is the fact that last week he pulled himself on a third and long situation. I wholeheartedly believe that Kareem Jackson is improved and that Brice McCain is a great nickel guy and even that Alan Ball is a good special teams player, I don’t like it when they all move up a spot on the depth chart because the shut-down guy pulls himself on a clear passing down.
I’ll give the secondary the same benefit of the doubt I gave the offensive line, they were playing against an underrated Packers team that was playing for their playoff lives. If Flacco throws it all over the field like Rodgers was able to, however, then I don’t know how much longer that will last.
Special teams was the shining beacon of hope last week. DeVier Posey scored his first touchdown on a trash-time blocked punt, and Keshawn Martin had the longest punt return of the season.
The Texans also didn’t allow a touchdown on any returns, and Donnie Jones continued to prove that he was one of the biggest steals of the free agency market as his punts are nearly unreturnable.
Shayne Graham was also perfect again last week meaning it was probably the best game the Texans special teams has had this season. If the Texans can keep it up this week then they should be able to come away with a victory. On a personal level, even if the Texans win the game 70-7, and that touchdown was scored by Jacoby Jones I will shed a single tear.
My Prediction: Houston Texans over Baltimore Ravens: 31-20