Do the Texans belong in the mix?
By John Buhler
The Houston Texans have a manageable next two games to win the AFC South, but do the Texans belong in the mix of the AFC elite teams?
The AFC playoff picture is slowly, but surely coming together. Four teams have punched their tickets into the postseason this January. The Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs have clinched their divisions, while the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots know they’re getting in. But what about the Houston Texans? Where do they fit into the AFC playoff mix?
On this week’s episode of Stacking the Box, FanSided‘s Matt Verderame and Mark Carman, along with former NFL wide receiver Earl Bennett, look at where the Texans are entering their final two games of the regular season and see if they have what it takes to contend with other elite teams in the AFC, such as Baltimore and Kansas City (13:25).
Carman would defer to Bennett on assessing the Texans’ upward trajectory, as the former Vanderbilt Commodores standout and Chicago Bears wideout lives in Houston these days. While Bennett likes the Texans’ offensive firepower, especially when they have a healthy Will Fuller stretching the field, he feels that Houston is too inconsistent to be trusted at this point.
Since coming into the NFL back in 2002, the Texans have made the AFC playoffs five times to date, all as AFC South champions. However, Houston has never made it past the AFC Divisional Round in franchise history. In short, the Texans have never proven themselves capable of winning multiple playoff games in a given postseason.
Sure, one could argue that the Texans are the third-best team in the AFC after Baltimore and Kansas City, as both Buffalo and New England are limited offensively. However, there are no guarantees that the Texans would even get out of the AFC Wild Card Round as the presumptive No. 4 seed. They’d likely play either Buffalo or New England, whoever doesn’t win the AFC East.
There is a ton to be excited about with Texans football, now and in the future. They have their superstar quarterback in Deshaun Watson, which makes Houston a very attractive head-coaching destination should the McNair Family move off Bill O’Brien at any point. That said, Houston is not reliable enough as a football team this year for the Texans to get to their first AFC Championship.
Here are a few other topics discussed on this week’s episode of Stacking the Box:
- Where does Drew Brees rank all time? (1:10)
- Who is the best team in the NFC? (6:50)
- Are the Chiefs and Ravens the class of the AFC? (11:44)
- Matt Ryan interview (33:42)
All this and more!
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