We are officially in the second half of the 2023 NFL schedule. Franchises are working diligently to extend their season. DeMeco Ryans and his squad are becoming front-runners in a loaded AFC Conference. They've earned respect throughout the league and are in a prime position to punch a playoff ticket.
A last-second field goal helped DeMeco Ryans' unit capture a road win against the Cincinnati Bengals. How will Sunday's win secure success in the post-season?
Houston Texans' Effort Showed Glimpses of a Playoff Caliber Team
Preparing to play in Paycor Stadium is difficult. Defeating the Cincinnati Bengals at home is even tougher. A Week 10 matchup between two competitive franchises cultivated fans. Joe Burrow and his teammates wanted to keep their four-game winning streak alive. Wins against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Buffalo Bills were noteworthy and showed growth. C.J. Stroud and the Texans clung to momentum of their own.
An all-around stout performance helped DeMeco Ryans' unit take care of business. Bobby Slowik's offense moved the football efficiently throughout four quarters. Contributions from a dismal rushing attack were the deciding factors in a close exhibition. Devin Singletary earned his highest offensive grade (70.7) of the season. He rushed for 150 yards on 30 carries - averaging five yards each attempt. The fifth-year veteran gave Houston leverage against a struggling Bengals defense.
A balanced scheme allowed C.J. Stroud to find weaknesses in the Lou Anarumo group. He connected with eight different targets throughout the afternoon. Noah Brown (172) and Dalton Schultz (71) became the rookie's favorite targets while Nico Collins nursed a lingering calf injury.
Houston Texans can Clinch a Playoff Berth with a Strong Finish to Regular Season
An impressive performance against a former Super Bowl Champion was noteworthy for DeMeco Ryans' group. They competed until the final seconds and corrected mistakes made in prior weeks. Matt Burke's defense created turnovers (2) and made big plays in the clutch. Sheldon Rankins (3) tormented Joe Burrow and helped Houston record four sacks Sunday afternoon. A complete team effort led to Houston's fifth victory of the season. They are showing signs of greatness at the right time, with winnable games left on the schedule.
Clinching a spot in the AFC playoff bracket is achievable for the Houston Texans. They are a game behind the first-placed Jacksonville Jaguars in divisional standings heading into Week 11. A win against the Bengals places the Texans in seventh place in the AFC playoff picture. Upcoming games against the Jaguars, Browns, and Colts will determine if Houston will have an extended season. They must win the rest of their conference games to strengthen their odds.
Post-season expectations were not a topic of conversation for Nick Caserio's franchise heading into the season. The Houston Texans were considered a rebuilding franchise in a struggling AFC division. Leadership from players and members of the coaching staff are helping Caserio's men exceed expectations. They have a shot to do the unthinkable with a little extra work.
All statistic courtesy of pff.com