by: Garret Heinrich (@GarretHeinrich)
Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Texans are 5-3 as they head into their bye week and halfway through the season are sitting on top of the AFC South. The Texans had the hardest strength of schedule in the NFL for the first half of the season and came out with a winning record. Just look at this. It’s impressive.
So starting in week 10 the Texans will embark on their bid for a second straight playoff appearance and a second straight division title. Now we all know the Texans first half and second half can be night and day. Just last year they were 2-5 going into the bye week. They finished 7-2. It can turn around at any moment in the National Football League (read like annoying announcer trying to get you pumped up for any Thursday Night Football game.) Luckily for the Texans, this second seems a lot easier than their first half. What will it entail? Let’s take a look game by game.
Week 9 – BYE
Comes at a great time, players should get healthy and hopefully ready to power through the second half.
Week 10 – @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Probably the easiest two games of the season for the Texans are the two against the Jaguars. Especially as they spiral to the bottom of the AFC, again. Coming out of the bye week the Texans should run all over a Jaguars defense that has been extremely under performing and be able to stop an offense that seems to only do well trailing by 20+ in the 4th quarter. Which is great for fantasy (unless you bench Allen Hurns because, you know, the team sucks for 3 quarters and you don’t trust him) but bad for NFL teams.
Week 11 – @ Oakland Raiders (In Mexico City)
Projection: TOSS UP LOSS
If this game were in Oakland it would be an absolute loss on the Texans schedule, but I honestly don’t know how the Mexico City adventure will affect these teams. This feels like the Raiders might fail miserably, but they are coming off their bye into the game so they might be ready to go and stomp the Texans. The Raiders are playing great on the road and this should have a crowd like a home game, but will feel like a road game. If the Texans pull this game out it would be a huge win for them heading forward. Alas, I think the Texans lose a tight game.
Week 12 – vs. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are a team that loves to lose. They aren’t a bad team, they aren’t a great team. They are 3-5 and they could make a run in the second half, but I just don’t think they are good enough on the road. Quarterback Philip Rivers is 3-0 at home and has a 7-1 TD-INT ratio. On the road, he’s 5-0 and has an 8-6 TD-INT ratio. I think that continues in Houston and the Texans are able to play solid defense, just enough offense to win a game that is close but never really in doubt. Granted the Texans would take that play from their quarterback overall, but I just don’t see the Chargers getting it right on the road except for maybe their Christmas Eve game in Cleveland.
Week 13 – @ Green Bay Packers
I think if you looked at this game before the season you marked it with an ‘L’ and had no qualms about it. If you looked at it after Week 2 you might have thought the Texans could win the game. Now it looks like a loss again. The Texans haven’t played well on the road at all against good teams. And the Packers might be a good team again. Aaron Rodgers looks like Aaron Rodgers and that is scary. Cold loss in Lambeau. Sad too, because Watt would have gone for 5 sacks, a pick-six and a receiving touchdown if he got to play in Lambeau.
Week 14 – @ Indianapolis Colts
This used to be a locked up ‘L’ on the old wall schedule. Mark it in April. Last year changed that with T.J. M-Fing YATES and BRANDON F-ING WEEDEN. So I believe that the Texans are ready to start a new streak where they win in Indianapolis. I also believe the Colts aren’t good. And the Texans do well against bad teams. The Texans will have a winning streak in Indianapolis for the first time ever.
Week 15 – vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This one is going to be the easiest ‘W’ of the season for the Texans. The Jaguars are projected to be like 2-74 at this point in the season and will probably have fired their coach at this point AND given up on their interim coach as well. Texans roll over the Jaguars and possibly lock up their second straight playoff appearance with this win.
Week 16 – vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Projection: TIGHT WIN
I just don’t know if I trust the Bengals. I love Andy Dalton (he’s currently the 8th greatest living male Ginger behind Ron Howard, Conan O’Brien, Michael Fassbender, Prince Harry, Rupert Grint, Blake Griffin and Seth Green, some argue 7th greatest and Seth Green has fallen back, but I can’t let his performance in “Airborne” go unheralded any longer!) but I just don’t trust the rest of that team to do enough to win a tough road game when something is on the line. When was the last time they did that? Go ahead, search Google, figure it out. Texans somehow pull this game out and get a big win.
Week 17 – @ Tennessee Titans
I actually think the Tennessee Titans are a decent football team. We saw them look shaky and have some issues at NRG earlier in the year, but they seem to be buying in and turning a corner. Their offensive line is actually pretty good and they can run the ball. Mariota is also a good quarterback still learning his game but can be dangerous. This game could be trouble for the Texans if they end up being locked into the playoffs and the Titans are playing for a winning record. Look for a close game that goes to the home team in this one.
With that second half of the season, it actually looks like a 10-6 record is in store for the Houston Texans. That will be good enough for a home playoff game against a Wild Card team. Maybe even against the lower Wild Card team depending on the how the AFC North plays out. The thing that stands out to me is that they could possibly win 11 games this season. It isn’t far fetched to say the Texans win the game against the Raiders in Mexico City or even the game in Tennessee to end the year.
If the Texans can win that game against the Oakland Raiders it could actually have HUGE playoff implications. 11-5 has a shot to get the 2 seed in the AFC. A win over the Raiders would give the Texans a tie-break lead if both teams won their division with 11-5 records. You would never think it with the way the Texans would play, but I’d say you could actually think about a first round bye if the Texans can win in Mexico City. I don’t think it will happen but it is actually a possibility and that is crazy.