Aug 30, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Keith Mumphery (12) runs from New Orleans Saints inside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) in the first quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City, at Carolina, Tampa Bay
Prediction: The Kansas City game will be a true test to see what this 2015 squad is made of. Alex Smith is an underrated quarterback that actually has legitimate weapons surrounding him on the offense this year. The Texans’ defense is reloaded and ready to build on a strong preseason despite not playing numerous starters. I think the Texans sneak away with an extra point play will be a game shifter and a late field goal for the win.
Carolina’s offense is going to be limited due to losing their #1 threat at wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin. Cam Newton’s patience will be tested, and I see the Texans’ defense thoroughly dominating this contest. Low scoring, but the Texans win by ten points.
Tampa Bay is a wild card. Jameis Winston is not the ideal quarterback, this pass rush will test his decision making abilities and J.J. Watt should consistently have a presence in that backfield. Multiple INTs by Winston and a good showing by Hoyer and the offense lead to a multi-touchdown victory for Houston.
Record for the month: 3-0
at Atlanta, Indianapolis, at Jacksonville, at Miami
Atlanta still needs to address their running game, and the Texans’ pass defense will be their strong suit in 2015 with their ocean deep secondary and intimidating pass rush capabilities. These things will lead to Atlanta not having a great deal of offensive success against a stout defensive unit yet again carrying this team to victory. Texans steal a game in Atlanta by a touchdown.
The Texans have come a long way in the secondary over the course of one season, but I don’t think it will be enough to stop Indianapolis’ passing attack when they ride into NRG. Andre Johnson will have a career day in his return to Houston, and Indianapolis outpaces the Texans in a high scoring affair.
Jacksonville is an improved unit from a year ago, especially at the quarterback position. Black Bortles has made strides and it has shown in the preseason. Still, it won’t be enough to overcome the improved Texans defense. The Texans take this game by ten points.
Miami made some major additions in the offseason. Bolstering their defensive unit with nose tackle Ndamukong Suh was a great move, and their secondary looks to be solid on paper. This will be a tough contest for Houston away in Miami. They fall by a touchdown.
Record for the month: 2-2
Record overall: 5-2
Tennessee, BYE WEEK, at Cincinnati, New York Jets, New Orleans
Prediction: Tennessee is going to surprise some people this year while being led by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. While they are improving, they are still rebuilding. The defense is suspect, and they will be outmatched by DeAndre Hopkins and company. Texans win by a couple scores.
Cincinnati could possibly be the first team to see Arian Foster back in action post groin surgery. Andy Dalton will be harassed by Houston’s stout defensive unit all game, and it should be a low scoring contest overall. Houston steals one in Cinci by a field goal.
New York is riding the great bearded warrior’s success, and Ryan Fitzpatrick leads a surging Jets’ offense to victory in his return to Houston. New York has a very strong defensive unit and I don’t see the Texans’ offense being able to score very many points against them.
New Orleans will be a good matchup again, being led by Drew Brees. In their contest during the preseason, without key defensive starters in the Texans were able to hold the Saints’ starting offense to a field goal on their opening drive. I think the Texans can hold them down in scoring and put up a few touchdowns to DeAndre Hopkins against the weak New Orleans secondary.
Record for the month: 3-1
Overall record: 8-3
at Buffalo, New England, at Indianapolis, at Tennessee
Prediction: December opens up the gauntlet for Houston, and hopefully Arian Foster is back in All-Pro form at this point.
Buffalo seems to have a formidable defense at the same level as Houston. This comes down to which quarterback can lead their respective offenses to the most consistent drives. Tyrod Taylor was announced Buffalo’s starter and his athleticism could prove to be a challenge to contain. I think Buffalo shows out in front of their home crowd and wins by ten points.
New England will be weaker than last season, but they are the defending Super Bowl Champions for a reason. Tom Brady deflates the Houston home crowd and sneaks away with a slimy two point victory.
Houston travels to Indianapolis, where they have never won a game in their franchise’s history. They break the curse and grab their first win, with DeAndre Hopkins returning the favor to his old mentor Andre Johnson and exploding for a career day in Indy.
Tennessee was an afterthought after riding into Indianapolis and winning, and they provide the Texans with a harsh wakeup call and score the major upset with Marcus Mariota tearing up the defense. They take one at home by two scores.
Record for the month: 1-3
Overall record: 9-6
Houston sweeps the 2015 season series against Jacksonville after Bill O’Brien berates the team for letting one slip away against Tennessee the week prior. They blowout Jacksonville to secure their spot in the postseason via the AFC Wild Card.
Record for the month: 1-0
Overall Record: 10-6