The Houston Texans have a tough task ahead of them this weekend with the New England Patriots on the schedule. Can the Texans not only be competitive, but surprise the NFL with a win?
Vegas and many NFL experts are not predicting a win for the Houston Texans in Week 1, but it isn’t because the roster isn’t talented and not because they don’t have any superstars. The reason is that on the other side of the field will be the New England Patriots, five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and his future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick.
Facing a team the caliber of the Patriots isn’t easy, and even if a team loses to the defending AFC champion New England squad, that doesn’t make them any worse for wear. For Houston, who enters Week 1 healthy for the first time in a long time, it will be interesting to see just how good they can be this season, and even more important, how competitive they can be against a team with the pedigree of the Patriots.
• Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com wrote about that sort of topic in a Thursday article about “Are the Texans for Real?” In the article, Barshop writes the following about the Texans and if they can finally overcome Brady and the Patriots:
"“An early victory against New England would show the league that this Texans team not only can compete for a playoff spot, but it can be among the best in the AFC.”"
If the Texans can beat the Patriots in Week 1, it will make them a team to be noticed, but a win (or even a loss) can’t make or break this 2018 season. Even if the Texans lose this game, if they show they can play well and are competitive against a team like New England, they can also make the rest of the NFL look at them in a different way as well. Houston not only has to play competitive in this game, but take whatever they learn from facing the Patriots into the next 15 games they play this regular season.
• Drew Dougherty of HoustonTexans.com wrote on the topic of the Texans knowing they need to “challenge Rob Gronkowski this Sunday.” In the article, Dougherty quotes Texans head coach Bill O’Brien about Gronkowski and how great he is:
"“He’s a really hard guy to match up against. He’s a consistent performer. He’s probably one of the best tight ends, obviously in the game right now, maybe in the history of the game.”"
O’Brien isn’t just blowing smoke when it comes to what he said about Gronkowski as they enter the Week 1 game because it is true that Gronkowski is, in, fact, the best tight end in all of the NFL when he’s healthy.
Teams of all talent levels have issues stopping him, and the Texans will be no different. For the Texans to win this game, they don’t have to stop Gronkowski completely, but they’ll have to challenge him, like they say. Even more so, they have to make life tough for him for the few hours he is on the field with them.
It will be difficult for the Texans to challenge Gronkowski this Sunday, but if they want a chance to win this game and to start off the season with a win, keeping Gronkowski will be a task they must face head-on – but that is easier said than done.
• Anthony R Wood of TexansWire.com wrote about how J.J. Watt gave high praise to the Patriots and their duo of Belichick and Brady before their game on Sunday. Wood quoted Watt on the Patriots:
"“They’re phenomenal. They’ve been doing things for a long time at a very high level, so, it’s always exciting to get out there on the field and be able to play against a team of that caliber.”"
This game can’t come soon enough for the Texans as it is going to be a nice way to gauge what level the team is at after a long training camp and preseason. Watt is correct in his statements on the Patriots because they are still the best team in the AFC until another team can prove otherwise.
Seeing a healthy Texans team back on the field should make a difference in this game for Houston, and if they can stay healthy, this team should be on the fast track for some success in 2018.
• Tweet of the Day
In predicting his 2018 NFL MVP, Nate Burleson of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network said his choice for the Most Valuable Player is Deshaun Watson.
For the Texans to even have a quarterback in that conversation is a welcome moment, especially a quarterback entering his second season and coming off an ACL tear. Texans fans could be witnessing the start of something every special this season, and it all could start with a productive Week 1 this Sunday.