Clinching the playoffs is a noteworthy accomplishment. It represents the sacrifices NFL franchises make throughout the calendar year. True fanatics understand that anything can happen at the beginning of the season. Faith and hard work result in growth. It also eventually equates to success. The Houston Texans are the latest example of perseverance. They hired leaders, incorporated a culture, and are reaping the rewards of their labor. No one expected DeMeco Ryans’ unit to reach the Divisional Round of the AFC playoff picture. But they did, and should not be taken lightly.
Is it disrespectful to assume the Texans are hopeless against the Baltimore Ravens?
The Houston Texans deserve to be in the playoffs
A long regular season groomed C.J. Stroud and his teammates for the weight of the post-season. Doubt is not unfamiliar to a franchise that has worked desperately to establish a respectable reputation. Success throughout the campaign forced opponents to change their opinion of the Houston Texans. The narrative shifted after an impressive Week 3 performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bobby Slowik’s offense scored a season-high 37 points. C.J. Stroud threw 384 passing yards and connected with nine different receivers. He earned his third-highest offensive grade of the campaign (84.3). An electrifying outing secured a win and foreshadowed the rookie's first season.
C.J. Stroud played a vital role in Bobby Slowik’s offense. He made things happen when situations were hazy. His playmaking ability and football IQ prevailed when all odds were against him. In Week 9, the Houston Texans needed another convincing performance to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Once again, the Texans rookie gunslinger delivered. His 470 passing yards became the new record for rookie quarterbacks. C.J. Stroud gave the Texans a chance to win until the final seconds.
Consistency is a vital factor in determining if a quarterback is considered elite. We’ve seen Stroud navigate through his rookie season with a few hiccups. That’s a rarity in the NFL. Contributions from a determined defensive unit protected Stroud throughout the season. When mistakes occurred, Matt Burke’s group cleaned up the mess. The team effort was enough to propel DeMeco Ryans’ group into the AFC playoff bracket for the first time since 2019.
The Houston Texans Point Spread for Saturday is Disrespectful
Ignoring the media leading up to the big game helps athletes focus on their goals. They can access social media platforms, television shows, and analytical articles like us. The predictions for Saturday’s match-up were the discussion of the week. The Ravens are favored to win, but the odds are intriguing. According to ESPN, the Houston Texans have a 16.5 percent chance to achieve a victory. They are 9.5-point underdogs despite a win against the Cleveland Browns last weekend. Jim Harbaugh’s unit earned the first seed in the conference bracket. We’ve witnessed them defeat noteworthy teams. Are they two possessions better than the Texans?
I do not expect C.J. Stroud and his teammates to search for motivation online. However, I believe they are motivated enough to pull off an upset. DeMeco Ryans is a confident leader. He’s been an underdog alongside his players throughout the season but still finds ways to guide his squad to victory. Victories against the Buccaneers, Bengals, and Steelers are evidence of potential.
A win against the Baltimore Ravens will send the Texans to the AFC Conference Championship. A team effort is the minimum requirement for success against a talented team. DeMeco Ryans has the roster to write history. They must follow C.J. Stroud, and leave everything on the field. I expect this match-up to be the highlight of a busy Divisional Round. The winner of this game is likely to have a chance to hoist a Vince Lombardi trophy.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com