It’s hard to be positive after allowing 44 points to the Dolphins and having your spotless record all-time against them broken. But don’t lose heart Texans fans, the team is still very much in the race for the division title.
Ordinarily you would not be able to say that about a team that is 2-5. But unusual circumstances have allowed this to be a reality this season. The Colts are struggling mightily with Andrew Luck being hurt and can’t win a game outside of the division, the Jaguars can’t finish games and the Titans are still struggling despite the play of Marcus Mariota.
This was supposed to be a hard nosed, defense and pound the ball type of team. But it has turned into the opposite—an air it out squad with a top tier receiver leading the way. But the defense is 23rd in yards allowed, 15th against the pass and 27th against the run. Vince Wilfork certainly has not plugged up the middle as was hoped. Overall the Texans are 28th in points allowed, partly due to what happened on Sunday. Regardless, the defense has underperformed (other than J.J. Watt, of course).
Still, despite all that, the Texans are just a game out in the division. If the Texans beat the Titans on Sunday, they will be halfway through the season at 3-5 and potentially tied with the Colts (if the Panthers remain undefeated on Monday night). But after the bye, the Texans have five difficult games, some more difficult than others. They play a Monday night game in Cincinnati after the bye, followed by home games against the Jets and Saints before going to Buffalo and then coming home to play the Patriots. The Jets have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season (they’ve beaten the Browns, Colts, Redskins and Dolphins), so who knows how good they really are? I’m not sure if the Saints are turning the corner right now of if they are just inconsistent, and the Bills look very ordinary without Tyrod Taylor. So those three middle games look like the most winnable, but as they say, any given Sunday (or Monday I suppose). So let’s say the Texans take two of those five, and sweep their last three divisional games at Indianapolis, at Tennessee and at home against the Jaguars, that puts the Texans at 8-8 with a 4-2 division record. Could that be good enough? It honestly could be. We’ve seen teams with record of 7-9, 8-7-1 and 7-8-1 win divisions since 2010, so why not?