The True Ranking of The Texans Defense

By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)

Fans and media often bring up the No. 1 ranked defense stat—which is based on yards allowed per game—for the Houston Texans when discussing why they might be able to defeat the New England Patriots, but are they really the best defense in the NFL?

They’ve certainly had a great season, but they don’t seem like a shut down defense capable of carrying a bad offense to a championship, like defenses for the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers did over a decade ago.

Below are some other defensive stats that help tell more of the story on how good the Texans defense has actually been this season.

  • Yards Per Play: Rank Tied 5th
  • Points Per Game: Rank 11th
  • 3rd Down Percentage: Rank 11th
  • Number of Penalties: Rank 25th
  • Sacks: Rank 24th
  • Takeaways: Rank Tied 26th

So, those stats don’t support the idea that they’re the No. 1 defense, but how about what the Texans have held opponents to in both points and yards, compared to the per game averages of those teams this season?

Credit: Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

(Credit: Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Week 1 vs Bears:

  • Held the Bears to 14 points & 258 total yards.
  • Bears averaged 17.4 points & 356.5 total yards this season.

Week 2 vs Chiefs:

  • Held the Chiefs to 12 points & 291 total yards.
  • Chiefs averaged 24.3 points & 343 total yards this season.

Week 3 vs Patriots:

  • Patriots had 27 points and 282 total yards.
  • Patriots averaged 27.6 points and 386.2 total yards.

Week 4 vs Titans:

  • Titans had 20 points & 320 total yards.
  • Titans averaged 23.8 points & 358 total yards.

Week 5 vs Vikings:

  • Vikings had 31 points & 351 total yards.
  • Vikings averaged 20.4 points & 315.1 total yards.
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16: Andre Hal #29 of the Houston Texans celebrates after sacking Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Week 6 vs Colts:

  • Colts had 23 points & 392 total yards.
  • Colts averaged 25.7 points & 364.4 total yards.

Week 7 vs Broncos:

  • Broncos had 27 points & 347 total yards.
  • Broncos averaged 20.8 points & 323.1 total yards.

Week 8 vs Lions:

  • Held Lions to 13 points & 289 total yards.
  • Lions averaged 21.6 points & 338.8 total yards.
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass against the Houston Texans during the game at EverBank Field on November 13, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Week 10 vs Jaguars:

  • Jaguars had 21 points & 327 total yards.
  • Jaguars averaged 19.9 points & 334.9 total yards.

Week 11 vs Raiders:

  • Raiders had 27 points & 325 total yards.
  • Raiders averaged 26 points & 373.3 total yards.

Week 12 vs Chargers:

  • Chargers had 21 points & 302 total yards.
  • Chargers averaged 25.6 points & 356.8 total yards.

Week 13 vs Packers:

  • Packers had 21 points & 309 total yards.
  • Packers averaged 27 points & 368.8 total yards.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 11: A.J. Bouye #21 of the Houston Texans celebrates after the Texans stopped the Indianapolis Colts on fourth down in the final two minutes of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Week 14 vs Colts:

  • Held Colts to 17 points & 348 total yards.
  • Colts averaged 25.7 points & 364.4 total yards.

Week 15 vs Jaguars:

  • Jaguars had 20 points & 150 total yards.
  • Jaguars averaged 19.9 points & 334.9 total yards.

Week 16 vs Bengals:

  • Held Bengals to 10 points & 294 total yards.
  • Bengals averaged 20.3 points & 356.9 total yards.

Week 17 vs Titans:

  • Titans had 24 points & 236 total yards.
  • Titans averaged 23.8 points & 358 total yards

Summary:

  • The Texans held their opponents under their average for points scored in every game with exception to the Vikings, Broncos, both Jaguars games, Raiders, and the second Titans game.
  • The Texans held their opponents under their average for total yards in every game with exception to the Vikings, the first Colts game, and the Broncos game.
  • The Texans held their opponents a total of 41.8 points under their average for the entire season, which equals 2.6 points per game.
  • The Texans held their opponents a total of 811.1 total yards under their average for the entire season, which equals 50.6 total yards per game.
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots carries the ball during the first half against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

So, the Patriots average 27.6 points and 386.2 total yards per game. That means the Patriots would score 25 points with 335.6 yards, if the Texans hold them under their averages for points and yards at the same average rate they’ve held other opponents to this season; is that enough to win at New England?

My gut feeling is a quick no.

The Texans offense hasn’t proven capable of scoring enough points—especially on the road against a Bill Belichick defense—to best those numbers; they averaged 17.4 points with 314.7 total yards per game this season.

They’ll need sacks and takeaways to pull off the upset, two things they haven’t done well this year.

More from Brian McDonald
Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Houston

DONATE NOW TO HOUSTON FOOD BANKAll of Houston Radio is banding together to support the Houston Food Bank. Donate now.
Dynamo Schedule

Listen Live