Texans Tidbits: what we learned from week 12


Another win for the Texans makes it four in a row. This defense has been absolutely magnificent recently and it continued as they stifled Drew Brees, holding the high flying Saints to just 228 yards through the air and kept him and the Saints out of the end zone. Here is what we learned this past week:

1. The Texans have shored up the run defense

Mark Ingram ran for 52 yards on nine carries yesterday. While that is good for 5.8 yards per carry (more than Brees averaged through the air per attempt), 29 of those yards came on one run. Other than that run, he had 23 yards on eight carries. That’s less than three yards per carry. While the Saints are not exactly what you would call a team built to run the ball, the Texans have improved to 16th in run defense while they were in the bottom five in the league in that category just a few weeks ago.

2. The AFC is exceptionally mediocre

Earlier this season people were saying the NFC sucked and there weren’t many good teams. Well, the AFC isn’t much better. Nobody is better than 6-5 in the AFC except the Patriots (whom the Texans will play on SNF in week 14), Broncos and Bengals (whom the Texans beat in their house). The thing is, even though the Colts have the tiebreaker on the Texans right now, Houston would still be in the playoffs if the season ended today—the #6 seed behind the Chiefs in the wild card hunt. I don’t mean to put the cart before the horse, but this conference looks almost wide open. Each of the big three have struggled this season. The Patriots have 10 wins, but they eeked out quite a few wins and the injuries keep piling up for them. They are not invincible. The Broncos have a very good defense, but they still lack offensive identity. Are they a running team or passing team? Furthermore, can Brock Osweiler really carry them all the way? As for Cincinnati, well I think the Texans game against them should speak for itself.

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3. Houston actually has other weapons than DeAndre Hopkins

While Hopkins had the most catches with five and most targets with eight yesterday, he wasn’t the leading receiver. That would be Ryan Griffin, who had 72 yards on four receptions. Hopkins wasn’t even second, that would be Nate Washington with 43 yards on three grabs. Both of them were aided with receptions of 30+ yards, but if there are other playmakers that other teams will have to fear, coverage will have to roll away from Hopkins. When New England comes to town in a couple weeks and they take away the best weapon (Hopkins), it’s good to know the Texans have someone else who can make plays.

4. The Colts are not going down easy

A couple weeks ago I said the Texans were the favorites in the AFC South after beating the Bengals on Monday Night Football. But Matt Hasselbeck and the Colts are just continuing to win. I’m not sure if Andrew Luck’s injury was what was getting to them early in the year or what, but regardless Hasselbeck is on a roll and if I were Chuck Pagano I would keep Hasselbeck in the lineup. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The Jaguars suffered a loss they absolutely could not afford against San Diego yesterday, so they will have a very hard time climbing back into the divisional race down two games with five to play and 0-2 against the Colts and Texans so far this season. But back to the Colts, they’ve won three in a row since their loss in Carolina, defeating the Broncos, Falcons and Buccaneers in that stretch. After going to Pittsburgh next week and playing Houston in week 15, their remaining schedule is not the most intimidating. They go to Jacksonville and Miami in weeks 14 and 16 and host Tennessee in the finale. There’s no doubt Houston will have to be on top of their game if they want to win this division.