The Houston Texans are in do-or-die mode right now. The Texans are a team that has to have a big outing against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday or they risk slipping from 8-7 to 8-8 and no longer having the direct route to the playoffs that they currently have. All they have to do is win out and they're in.
But that's never easy in the NFL. On any given Sunday any team can beat any team and the Titans are just as likely to beat the Texans and derail their playoff hopes as the Texans are to beat the Titans and continue their match to the playoffs.
To get to that next level, however, the Texans are going to need several big names to step up and play their absolute best against the Titans.
It may not be fair to say that Stroud, who has been out the last two weeks with a concussion, has to step up considering all he's done this season, but he has to. The Texans' offense hasn't looked the same since Week 13, the week prior to his injury. Since then, injuries to Stroud and Tank Dell have sidelined the team and made it a bit harder for them to move the ball and score. Stroud has to return to his old form after a nearly three-week layoff and play well. If he doesn't, the Titans will take this game as their own.
As with Stroud, Cashman's return to the lineup also has to see the top-rated defensive player return to form instantly. The team may be without both Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson Jr. on Sunday, but for sure Greenard. If that happens, Cashman will have to step up huge in every facet of the game.
Derek Stingley Jr.
It's not fair to ask Derek Stingley Jr. to take on former Texans' receiver DeAndre Hopkins all game, but if the Titans are going to topple the Texans, it'll be with them throwing Hopkins the ball all game. Stingley has got to continue to step up and turn away any big-play ideas Hopkins and the Titans may have for the game.