Momentum from an impressive regular season will give DeMeco Ryans’ unit an advantage heading into wild-card weekend. They worked hard to change the narrative that followed the Houston Texans for years. A home game against the Cleveland Browns will be the first playoff game in five years. Fans are anxious, and players are ready to make a statement. C.J. Stroud is expected to be an X-Factor but might need help from his teammates to advance.
Can Bobby Slowik rely on Devin Singletary to produce?
First-round quarterbacks are a gamble for front offices. Scouts asses each ability via game film and workouts. Flaws are hard to find, especially with limited time to evaluate an athlete thoroughly. C.J. Stroud was no different than the rest of his classmates. He experienced success as an Ohio State Buckeye, but analysts wondered if he could adjust to NFL schemes. An evaluation conducted by NFL analyst Lance Zierlein questioned mobility and decision-making ability. “The question now is how quickly he will acclimate outside the Ohio State scheme" Zierlein remarked. His assesment concluded with highlighting Strouds accuracy and resilience, but he wondered if the rookie could make a smooth transition.
An impressive campaign helped Stroud silence his critics. His leadership, poise, and determination led the Texans to a 10-7 record and a divisional title. The former first-round pick finished the season ranked 8th in passing yards (4,109) and 14th in completions (319). Nick Caserio and his front office can rejoice, knowing they made the right decision in the off-season. They successfully selected the future foundation of the franchise but he will need help carrying the offensive load in the playoffs.
Devin Singletary must become an X-Factor for the Houston Texans
Dynamic offenses are hard to find in the NFL. They create problems for opposing defenses and lead franchises to success. Bobby Slowik’s unit performed well this season but left a lot on the table. The Texans finished the campaign ranked 14th in offensive grading (74.7). C.J. Stroud and the receivers carry the offensive workload, while Slowik creates a presence on the ground (74.9). Inconsistencies in the backfield have caused Houston to become unbalanced. Devin Singletary has earned most of the reps (216) at tailback but has not helped the Texans revive a withered run scheme (26th).
The Cleveland Browns will match the energy in NRG Stadium on Saturday afternoon. They are a confident team with solid players hungry for a chance to advance. Incorporating Devin Singletary into the offensive scheme will give Houston an advantage in their first playoff game. Last week, Singletary carried the ball 27 times for 63 yards. He scored the final touchdown and helped wear down opposing defenders.
Jim Schwartz’s defense will be a difficult group to face. They are disciplined, well-coached, and hungry to prove they belong on a big stage. This season, Cleveland ranks first in pass rush (90.8) and fifth in coverage (91.9). C.J. Stroud is an impressive quarterback, but we cannot expect him to take on the Browns alone.
A balanced Texans offense will help DeMeco Ryan’s group achieve victory on Saturday afternoon. His quarterback is a game-changer but will need assistance from his peers. An additional dynamic in the scheme will preserve C.J. Stroud throughout the course of the game. Devin Singletary must find ways to get involved early and often.