The Houston Texans lead the AFC South standings after nine weeks and going into their bye week.
Following their dreaded three straight losses to start the 2018 NFL season, who would have thought the Houston Texans would be sitting at the top of the AFC South standings following the first nine weeks of the season. Houston has won their past six games and are now 6-3 overall with a 3-1 record at home and 3-2 mark on the road.
The standings aren’t what some believed it would be following the slow start by the Texans to start the season. In fact, the 2017 AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars are currently in last place in the division at 3-5, and the Indianapolis Colts with Andrew Luck at quarterback are also 3-5 overall. The Titans are second place at 4-4 and then the Texans with their 6-3 record as they also hold wins over the Colts and Jaguars, while they have a loss against the Titans within the division.
To be honest, after the 0-3 start by Houston it was very easy to believe the season was all but over, but what has also helped the Texans besides taking advantage of some breaks here and there, is the fact the division as a whole is inconsistent this season.
Not many could have predicted the Jaguars going from one win away from playing in the Super Bowl to being in last place in the AFC South with three wins and five losses.
The play of the Titans has been really good at times as they recently defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football by two touchdowns at 28-14, and they’ve also defeated the Texans in Week 2.
As for the Texans, it has been a thrill to watch the progression of quarterback Deshaun Watson thus far this season as he’s becoming a better quarterback before our eyes. It is nice for the Texans that one part of their team not to worry about is the overall play of their quarterback.
Watson this season is 185-of-285 for 2,389 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Watson has completed 64.9 percent of his passes and in nine games he has three passes of 40-plus yards. One issue with Watson this season is he’s taking too many hits, whether it be by his own doing when running with the football or because his offensive line being very inconsistent this season as he’s been sacked 30 times.
The wide receivers of the Texans is where the excitement has been for this team whether it be DeAndre Hopkins having another excellent season, Will Fuller showing signs of being a great player before his ACL injury and when he’s healthy or rookie Keke Coutee having some big plays and getting targets in his direction. The addition of veteran Demaryius Thomas to the mix paid off in his first game with the franchise this past Sunday with three receptions for 61 yards.
Getting away from the offense and going to the defense and that is another big reason for the success the past six games, especially with the resurgence of a healthy J.J. Watt and for the most part Jadeveon Clowney too. Watt has nine sacks and 32 tackles this season, while Clowney has 5.5 sacks this season in eight games played.
Also the defensive backfield has seen great things from Tyrann Mathieu since he joined the team this past offseason, totaling two sacks and two interceptions, but more importantly he’s made a big difference with his leadership skills and veteran experience on the defense. Rookie Justin Reid has played extremely well thus far this season, and we cant forget veterans Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson either.
There have been many players who have contributed to the Texans being at the top of the AFC South standings after nine games. With seven more games left on the schedule, the players mentioned and the rest of the roster will need to play even stronger as they have a tough battle ahead of them if they want to win the division and qualify for the playoffs.