by Michael Scully
First, I’d like to set a background for my Texans love. You see three seasons ago, fellow blogger Ryan Faherty was defending his friends claim that the then Oakland Raiders were an up and coming team. I countered with, by definition; the Texans were an up and coming team. This discussion was over a few brews; so logically, we wagered on it with Marcelo as the witness, that the Texans would have at least two more wins than the Raiders. The 2009 Texans would go on to win nine games, four more than the Raiders. I don’t remember if we ever settled or if I lost the money in another wager, but at that moment I became a die-hard Texans fan, and I’ve been rewarded.
Now, normally this prediction is impossible because you need several things to go in your favor. First, you need to be a playoff team, but that may only get you one home game. So, you need to be a favorite to win the conference. Secondly, and most importantly, you need to play in a dome, warm sunny climate, or be the 2013-2014 New York Giants. This is because, as you know, to win three home playoff games, you need to win the Super Bowl at home.
This year, the Texans won the luck of the draw as being the only team able to do this. (Note some years this is not possible, when the game is held at a venue which does not host an NFL team.) Now, the Texans also have their stout defense and the offense is healthy, [Johnson, Schaub, and Foster is less banged up than normal] so they have a chance to go far. Additionally, last year, they were anyone but TJ Yates starting at quarterback away from beating the Ravens. This would have led to the Texans pass rush doing exactly what the 2007/2011 New York Giants did to Tom Brady. Now the only question is do the Houston Texans beat the New York Giants? This is hard to say as they would have overcome the stout Ravens defense, which Arian Foster shredded. To answer plainly, we don’t know, but it would have made for an even better Super Bowl than we had (almost impossible right?)
The schedule this year for the Texans includes the rebuilding AFC South, The NFC North, the AFC East, Baltimore and Denver. I’m not going to lie, the Jags, Colts, Titans, Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Vikings, represent a ten game record of at worst 8-2. Now to the Packers, Bears, Lions, Patriots, Baltimore and Denver, I don’t see the Bears or Lions play styles challenging the Texans, so we’re supposing a 10-2 record. They host the Packers and the Ravens while going on the road to Denver and New England. I think they lose New England (Late December game,) and split the Packers/Ravens in back to back weeks. Realistically, we’re looking at a 12-4 team (probably better 13-14 wins), and a number one seed.
Now, this is all nice in theory, but what about in practice? Well, the Texans started the year off 2-0, and of a possible 120 minutes of possession time, held the ball for 78 minutes. That’s 65% of the total possible time being used by the Texans. Now time of possession doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to analyzing a football team, but what we can conclude is that in their first two games, the Texans have been deadly efficient with the ball.
Take, the absolute dismantlement of Jacksonville last Sunday that is unheralded in my opinion. They held last year’s leading rusher, to 67 total yards and the Jaguars in total to 117, while forcing only one turnover. The offensive line was solid again, with total middle-left side rushes of 34 for 151 yards. (Although the right side of 12 for 70 wasn’t bad either) Essentially, you could have taken Alabama, Oregon, or your choice of best College Football team, and that’s what the Texans made the Jaguars look like last weekend. [It’s possible Savannah State may look to schedule the Jaguars next year as a warm-up.]
The key point to take from this is the Texans are on a mission. They feel as if they were robbed from a Super Bowl trip last year due to injuries and are not going to let this opportunity slip. You have to feel for Peyton this weekend, he’s coming off a debacle of a game where Atlanta was proving it’s defense, and now will face a hungry Texans team looking to show they are with the 49ers as the best two teams in the league, and everyone else is an also-ran.
As the season goes on, we’ll be uploading some new Metrics for the site and I’ll be using the Texans team as both a case study and reference for examples when explaining. So keep it in the back of your mind if some of my analyses seem bizarre to you. Feel free to comment with any questions, comments or improvements on any of my posts. Thanks for reading!