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The Texans travel to Miami for Sunday's game and the Dolphins seem to be a rejuvenated team under interim head coach Dan Campbell. The Dolphins certainly steamrolled the Tennessee Titans last Sunday to the extent that the Titans never were really in the game. There were high expectations for the Dolphins going into the season and it was really surprising that the Fish under performed so badly under old head coach Joe Philbin. Campbell was the TE coach for the Dolphins and it has been reported that during the season he made notes on things he would make changes to help the team get better and it's been reported that in doing that it was something that a guy who had ambitions for a head coaching job would do. So, this is Campbell's big shot at an NFL coaching gig. Don't think he doesn't want to be in the running for the Dolphins job and that means he will want the team to string together enough wins to make him a viable candidate for the job. The Texans got some confidence beating the Jaguars last Sunday but I'm sure their psyche is still somewhat fragile. It doesn't mean the Dolphins won't be fragile too. I'm sure both teams will look to go up early and often and try to put their foot on the other team's throat for the win. I don't give a damn about the Dolphins, the Texans need a win. At 2-4 they have to get two more victories just to get back to .500 on the season. After the loss to the Falcons to begin October it was said that Houston had 4 winnable games. Well, they messed up and lost the first one to the Colts and considering the state of the Colts they really messed up. Add to that the fact they were at home and it made that loss hurt even worse. They beat the reeling Jaguar and now it's the Dolphins. Had Philbin still been in charge I would have a lot better feeling about the Texans chances. I do believe that Houston has more talent and with Jadeveon Clowney back practicing today that is an even better sign for the weekend.


Here's a link to an article from Texans.com by Drew Dougherty listing why Tackle Derek Newton can play guard. The reason why it's even being addressed is because someone in the media asked Bill O'Brien why Newton has done so well since moving from right tackle to guard. This article lists the nine reasons why according to O'Brien.




I called out several players in a post after the Colts loss for not playing up to expectations and LB Whitney Mercilus was one of them. Well, Mercilus has a really good game against the Jaguar last Sunday and I just figured my post must have gotten back to him and he straightened up and played better. It seems I have no influence at all in things like that and Texans.com's Deepi Sidhu wrote an article about the real why's and what-for's of Mercilus improved play.



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This week's game is going to be one that is hard to call. Both teams rallied to beat their opponents last week after looking pretty bad prior to last week. Both teams have a different rallying cry. The Dolphins are making a resurgence under a new coach and Houston is enjoying success under a different QB. The question begs to be asked, who is the pretender here the coach or the QB? I don't know the answer to that question and neither does anyone else. I think overall Houston has better talent especially on offense so you would think the Texans have a clear advantage but no, that isn't the case. Why? Because Houston has yet to put two games in a row together when they play well in all phases of the game. Consistency is the key here and it's what Houston has been severely lacking in 2015. Can Brian Hoyer be the same guy we saw in Jacksonville and against Indianapolis? That remains to be seen and it will continue to be a question asked until Hoyer can string together games when he plays smart football. He can't make a bonehead throw that cost his team a chance to tie the game against the Colts. Despite throwing for 300+ yards against Indy it was throw borne of poor judgement that cost the Texans the game. That was a tough loss to swallow for the Texans and their fans who have come to hate the Colts after so much futility against them. Hoyer can't be that dumbass guy going forward. If the guy who led the Texans to a win in Jacksonville shows up against Miami Houston stands a real good chance of winning. Arian Foster is getting better every week and has made a difference in the run game. DeAndre Hopkins is just a pure D beast and the defense has shown signs of getting better. The arrow seems to be pointing up for the Texans but it can very easily turn the opposite way if they don't play well against the Dolphins. So, who wins and what is the final score?


Houston 27 Miami 26

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I was ready to sit down on a rainy day and watch some football. I had gumbo, I had cold drinks and I had the remote control in hand. Ten minutes into the game I had deja vu from the massacre Lamar had to endure the evening before. Just the Central Arkansans did to Lamar in the first half the Dolphins opened up a can of whuppass on the Texans. Both Lamar and Houston did not handle the rain that pervaded the game especially in the first half. Hell, Miami had a deluge in the first half but it didn't seem to bother the Dolphins at all. Houston, on the other hand had 6 3-and-outs, five of those in a row into the 2nd quarter with a pick six by Brian Hoyer and long drive that ended when Houston failed on a 4th and 3 at the Miami 9. It was 41 zip at the half. Houston woke up and started to play some football in the 2nd half but it was way too little and way too late as the Texans fell to the Dolphins 44-26. I appreciated Hoyer's stat line because I had him fantasy but where was the offense in the 1st half. It was actually a double case of deja vu as this game looked an awful lot like the Falcons game. Big, insurmountable lead in the first half, a rebound performance in the second half that was pitifully short of even scaring the opposing team. The Dolphins looked like the team ready to play. They were fired up and they swarmed the ball while Houston looked flat. In Jacksonville it looked like Houston had fixed their defensive woes up the middle but it must have just been a Jaguars thing because Lamar Miller ran right up the gut gashing the defense. Miller rushed for 175 yards in 10 carries, all in the first half. Tannehill went 18 for 19 for 282 yards, with a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Miami did not have a 50-yard play from scrimmage previously this season. Tannehill became the first quarterback to throw three touchdown passes of 50-plus yards in a first half since Randall Cunningham in 1998, according to STATS. Did you notice Ryan Tannehill was 18 of 19 passes? He didn't throw the incompletion until the 4th quarter for goodness sake. BTW, Houston scored its 26 points in the 2nd half against primarily backups as Miami began substituting after halftime.

Houston also likely lost Arian Foster for the rest of the season because first reports are he torn his Achilles tendon. Let the good news continue to flow. Houston is quickly pissing away their season and now Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue will try to make up for Foster. Good luck with that.

Hoyer and the rest of the offense has to start playing ball before the 2nd half. If Houston continues to play like this Bill O'Brien won't be employed for long. Even Bob McNair has his limits.

Talk about ruin an afternoon. Then the Cowboys lose as well? That's a clean sweep of the teams I root for. A&M lost. Lamar lost. The Texans lost and the damn Cowboys lost. Not only that the Tampa Bay Bucs blew a 24-0 lead and let the stupid Redskins beat them scoring with :24 seconds left in the game to win 31-30. One stupid point! The only solace was the Eagles lost to Carolina last night. The Saints were kicking Indianapolis' ass but they let them come back in the 4th quarter and Andrew Luck ended up with a huge stat line that caused one of my fantasy league teams to lose. Thanks Rob Ryan. Needless to say I'm in a pretty fowl mood.

Losing Foster is a real blow and this offense is going to have to rally around each other and Brian Hoyer cannot allow such slow starts to plague their offense or this season is done before the half way point.

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On Monday Ryan Mallett overslept and missed some meetings at the Texans practice facility. On Tuesday Mallett was unemployed. Apparently Bill O'Brien wanted to release Mallett after he "overslept" after Brian Hoyer was named the starter during the Hard Knocks program on HBO but he was overridden by, most likely Rick Smith the team GM. I also heard there was a lot of internal conflict over the release but this time O'Brien obviously won. I didn't think much of Mallett after seeing him play earlier in the season. I also thought that O'Brien pulled the plug on Hoyer a little quick naming Mallett the starter for Week 2 after he came into the Week 1 contest when Hoyer had been ineffective. Mallett lost his job in the Colts game and it was clear from his sideline demeanor he was angry and pouting about Hoyer being in the game. I think Mallett had a big arm with no touch. In the off season I think maybe Rick Smith may have been the one who was invested in Mallett and when O'Brien was trying to do his best Belichick by releasing Mallett after his first sleep infraction Smith blocked the effort to send a message to the team.


On the same day that Ryan Mallett was released Houston replaced him with former Texans backup TJ Yates. I like Yates and I think that former Texans coach Gary Kubiak sort kept the game plan with Yates pretty vanilla which, IMO, didn't allow Yates to really shine. Even so, Yates was at the helm for the Texans first ever playoff win in franchise history. I like Yates as a player and, from a fan's perspective, a team mate.


The Texans made it official on Monday after an MRI showed that Arian Foster did indeed tear his Achilles tendon and will be out for the rest of the season. It really hurts because since he came back from the DL he hadn't rushed for 100 yards but his value as a runner and receiver out of the backfield was noticeable compared to any of his team mates. So far, when Houston has had success it has been through the air except for the big day Alfred Blue had against Tampa Bay. The emergence of DeAndre Hopkins and rookies Jaelen Strong and Keith Mumphery as well as the veterans Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington have made the receiving corps probably the strongest unit on the team.


As for who replaces Foster? Well, I know Alfred Blue was the guy before but since Foster came back Chris Polk seemed to have more involvement in the offense than Blue. So much so that I wondered if Blue was hurt. I haven't been too lucky with my handcuff choices in fantasy this year but I think I'm going with Polk. I think Polk brings more to the table but it could very well be he is just a change of pace runner and Blue will be the 1st and 2nd down back with Polk coming in on 3rd downs. I guess we will just have to be watchful to see what the practice reports say about the RB work loads in practice.


The Texans brought up S Kurtis Drummond from the practice squad. Drummond is a rookie out of Michigan State and judging by the porous nature of the center of the Texans defense he certainly can't be any worse than Houston was last Sunday. Today the Texans signed RB Darryl Richardson. All you Southland Conference guys should remember Richardson from his days at Abilene Christian. This DR's 3rd season in the NFL and if any more of the Texans RB's bite the dust he will be learning the ropes to take his place in the Texans rotation.


Houston also waived from the practice squad TE Mike McFarland out of South Florida with an injury settlement.


Today's injury report included two of the mainstays of the Texans defense. JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney both missed practice today. Watt is dealing with a back issue while Clowney was sick. The Texans also were without Derek Newton (toe), Benardrick McKinney (concussion), Akeem Dent and Cecil Shorts with bad hammies, Brandon Brooks (toe) and Kareem Jackson (ankle) from practice. Jackson, according to Bill O'Brien, could miss some time with the ankle injury.

Edited by eagle eye
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Houston begins life without Ryan Mallett today. I don't think the Texans will notice much of a difference although there is a possibility that the locker room will be a more pleasant place. JJ Watt was giving everyone a scare about whether or not he'd play this week as he dealt with a back issue. It was announced this morning that Watt is definitely playing. Maybe he just got a bit of a veteran's week off.

The Tennessee Titans is the opponent this week and theoretically Houston could end up being in first place in the AFC South if all things fall j.ust right. Houston needs to beat division rival Tennessee, Jacksonville is on bye and at 2-5 they will have to wait a week to make a move in the standings. The main game is the Monday night game that pits Indianapolis traveling to Carolina. Anyone worth his salt is going to pick the 6-0 Panthers to beat the Colts. So if all this happens today the standings will be;

Indianapolis 3-5

Houston 3-5

Jacksonville 2-5

Tennessee 1-6

It's amazing isn't it that Houston has looked as bad as they have at times this season and they could actually be tied for the division lead. The NFL is a funny thing sometimes.

Now, as far as today goes, the Texans are playing a handicapped team because the Titans will be without their #1 QB because Marcus Mariota is out with a knee injury and Zack Mettenberger is under center. Last week Mettenberger made his first start of the season and he was only able to lead his team to 7 points in a 10-7 loss to Atlanta. That score tells me two things, 1) The Titans are offensively challenged and that is a good thing for Houston and 2) The Titans defense is pretty good which is a problem for a Houston offense that has troubles of it's own getting started. If the offense shows up before halftime then Houston should be okay although they will miss Arian Foster's presence in the backfield. The Texans defense has had trouble stopping the run up the middle and the Titans have a guy just waiting for his breakout game in Antonio Andrews. The Texans D will be without CB Kareem Jackson and LB Benardrick McKinney due to injury so it makes picking a winner very difficult especially considering both teams have not been very good so far this season. I'm giving the Texans the edge simply because they are at home. So the final score will be........................


Houston 21 Tennessee 13

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Houston finally scored some points in the first half even though they waited until the 2nd quarter to do it. And, oh by the way, Houston won the game 20-6. The defense was on top of their game corralling the Titans run game and shutting down the passing game for all intents and purposes. Houston held the Titans to 97 yards rushing and just 171 yards passing for the game. The defense tallied a whopping 7 sacks and they just plain dominated the Titans O-line all day. JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus lived in the Titans backfield all day. Mercilus had 3.5 sacks and Watt 2.5 with Jared Crick getting the other sack for the Texans.

DeAndre Hopkins didn't bust 100 yards but he still logged 8 receptions for 94 yds and a TD. Nate Washington had a spectacular TD catch that I'm sure hurt when he landed on the ground in the end zone at the tail end of a 42 yard pitch and catch from Brian Hoyer. Washington had 4 grabs for 74 yds on the day. Alfred Blue and Chris Polk shared carries in the run game and that aspect of the Texans offense was not all that great but they made a play or two. Houston had just 57 yds on 22 totes on the game but Blue added another 5 catches for 33 yards while Polk had on catch. I'm surprised Blue was more involved in the passing game than Polk but we won so it doesn't matter unless you played Polk instead of Blue in your fantasy league (which I did). The fact I have considered either guy in my fantasy league shows how desperate I am. Injuries have decimated my roster.

Speaking of damage to a roster Jadeveon Clowney left the game yesterday with a back injury. He returned to the game a little bit later until he hurt it again making a tackle. Reports are the back injury isn't serious which is good news for the Texans.

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Time to take a breath. Decompress a little bit. It is finally the Texans bye week. As things stand right now Houston is exactly half way through the season and with their 3-5 record they are tied for 1st place in the AFC South. It that some crazy stuff or what? First place after looking like warmed over doo-doo for most of those games. The Colts are tied with Houston and they have some serious problems, problems so dire they have fired their offensive coordinator today. Houston needs to get healthy over the next week and half and they need to figure out how this running back by committee is going produce without Arian Foster. Last week the committee consisted of 2, Alfred Blue and Chris Polk, and it was just good enough to beat a struggling Tennessee Titans team who fired their head coach yesterday. If Houston can just string together 5 or 6 wins in a row they will take control of the division despite the horrible start to the season. So, we can rest assured that Houston will not lose this week. If, by some chance Indy loses again this week against the Broncos, and I would bet money on the Broncos despite the game being played in Indy, and a loss by Jacksonville to the Jets Houston could actually "win" by having sole possession of 1st place in the division.

The Texans will have to earn their stripes going forward though because when they play again a week from Monday night it will be against the currently undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals will be rested too since they play on Thursday night this week. So there won't be much of an advantage most bye week teams have facing a foe who played the previous Sunday. No worries, you play your schedule no matter how it falls. The benefit of the bye week should help the Texans get healthy and that's the important thing. Healthy and rested as they head into the final 8 games of the season. Yep, the bye week comes at just the right time.

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With a week off to heal up and get some much needed rest the writers on Texans.com are looking ahead to the second half of the season. First off is a link between the Texans second half success and the play of OLBs Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.




Second, as improbable as it sounds the Texans are in a tie with Indianapolis for first place in the AFC South. The Texans know that with a sub .500 record they can't get cocky and facing the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Get way to start the 2nd half right? Regardless Houston knows they have to keep winning no matter who is on the schedule. A win against the Bengals could define who the Texans are as a team and could launch them into a real nice roll through the 2nd half of the season.




This past week following the Texans 20-6 defeat of the Titans a residual effect of the win was the nomination of Texans CB Kevin Johnson for Rookie of the Week for Week 8. It turns out that the Tampa Bay Bucs LB Kwon Alexander won the award after he posted a career-high 11 tackles. He is the first rookie linebacker to record an, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. It doesn't diminish Johnson's performance against Tennessee recording his first career interception and his first two tackles for loss of the season. He also recorded six tackles and a pass defensed in his fourth start of the year. Johnson is the second consecutive 1st round pick after Jadeveon Clowney to be hits for the Texans in the Bill O'Brien regime.

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The Texans began practicing for the Bengals game this week yesterday and it was a good day in terms of players that were at practice. Jadeveon Clowney was in practice yesterday but he was classified by Bill O'Brien as day-to-day because of a back injury. He was limited in practice but at least he's on the field. I'm sure the week off last week did a world of good for Clowney and the rest of the team. Another guy back at practice was TE Ryan Griffin. Griffin has been out since he suffered a sprained MCL against the Chiefs in Week 1. Griffin will help the Texans offense in the passing game. They haven't have a lot of contributions by the TE since he went out. It would be nice if O'Brien embraced the TE as an offensive weapon but then again, since Owen Daniels left in free agency, there may not have been options at the position to take advantage of. Against Cincinnati this week Griffin could have a big game and the tight end is generally considered a QBs best friend. Houston will need all hands on deck in Ohio on Monday night including at tight end.


You would hope that the bye week was an opportunity for the O-line to get healthy and find a magic potion to make them a more effective unit. The run game is suffering and to some extent the passing game is hurting because the line is just not very good. At least up to this point. Regardless of the Bengals being their first game of the second half of the season I think Houston has a gambler's chance of winning the division. In the Colts win over the Broncos last week the Colts may have lost in the long run because Andrew Luck will be out for a while with a lacerated kidney. It will be anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks according to projections in which you would have to think the Colts could go .500. If Indy loses Luck for the whole 6 weeks and they go .500 their record would be 7-8. If Houston can manage to with 5 of the next 6 games their record would be 8-6. Indy has their bye this week but if they go 3-2 in the next 6 weeks their record will be 7-7. The problem with this projection is that Houston over the next 6 weeks are in order, Cincy, Jets, Saints, Bills, Patriots and end up playing the Colts. Pretty daunting schedule with 6 potential playoff teams including the unbeaten Pats and Bengals. Maybe I'm dreaming here but I am hoping against hope that Houston can salvage their season despite their strength of schedule. It would have been nice if Denver had taken care of business last week but it sure seems like Indianapolis is Peyton Manning's kryptonite, he just can't beat those guys even though his team is the better team.

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Questionable was changed to out today as Bill O'Brien announced that Jadeveon Clowney would miss this Monday night's game against the Bengals. Clowney has been dealing with a low back issue that is apparently very painful. He is not out per se as O'Brien actually said it is unlikely he will play but if a coach says something like that it's a pretty good bet he ain't playing. Clowney and CB Kareem Jackson did not participate in today's practice. Everyone else, a total of 11 players were full participants today and are expected to be on the field. This includes starters, T Duane Brown, LB Benardrick McKinney, WRs Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington and RB Chris Polk.


For a preview of this week's game Texans.com's Drew Dougherty gives his "First Look" at the game.



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So, here's the scenario going into the game tonight. Indy is off on their bye week and they are standing a 4-5 leading the division. Tennessee got slapped around by Carolina yesterday losing 27-10 dropping them to a lowly 2-7. Jacksonville finally broke their losing streak by edging out the Ravens 22-20 and improving their record to 3-6. That leaves Houston coming off their bye week at 3-5. Now, what will either happen tonight is Houston will win putting them at 4-5 and tied with Indy for first place or they will lose and fall to 3-6 and be tied for 2nd place with Jacksonville. It seems that the AFC South and the NFC East are in pretty sad shape right now. The best record in the NFC East is the 5-5 record the New York Giants have posted thanks to their latest loss to the New England Patriots yesterday. Pretty sad state of affairs in both divisions. Houston had opportunities to win more games but they failed to capitalize on opportunities and that has put them square in the middle of a bad situation. All is not lost but you really can't blame anyone for thinking there isn't too much light at the end of the tunnel for the Texans. Playing unbeaten Cincy is the beginning of a streak of 5 games, 4 of which are against playoff teams, and you see Houston is in for a bit of an uphill climb. Okay, considering how badly Houston has looked at times, the hill is a steep one. But, if Houston can win 4 of the 5, who is to say what that will do to the Texans playoff chances. With Indy going without Andrew Luck for an undetermined amount of time because of a lacerated kidney How long can the Colts ride the 40 year of coattails of Matt Hasselbeck?

But I'm not on point at all. Houston is playing Cincinnati to end Week 10. The Texans haven't played in 2 weeks and they went off on a high note beating the Tennessee Titans 20-6 in Week 8. Cincy has been resting too after playing 11 days ago on Thursday night football to begin Week 9 as they beat the crap out of the Cleveland Browns. Cincy is undefeated and untied and are looking pretty awesome. Houston has a big job ahead of them tonight. Frankly, I want to be a homer but I just can't do it. I hope that Houston doesn't get slapped around like the Browns did. If Houston can keep it close and put up a respectable fight I will be a happy camper. If they should actually beat the Bengals? Well, slap me twice and call me Lucy! I will be a REAL happy camper! So, what do I think will be the final score?


Cincinnati 34 Houston 20

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I have never been so happy to be wrong in my life! It was an unbelievable effort by the Texans especially on defense to hold a high powered offense like Cincy's to two field goals! The broadcasters were talking last night about how the Texans said a win in Cincy just be the thing that jump-starts their season and it's not too far fetched to believe it based on what I saw last night. Of course the offense needs to produce more than 10 points a game if the Texans hope to win games but last night it was enough and for that I'm happy.

T J Yates must be kryptonite to the Bengals. When he was with Houston the first time he came in in a December game and beat the Bengals to clinch the Texans first ever playoff win. Later that same season he led the team to a win over the Bengals for the Texans 1st ever playoff win. It is unknown how long Brian Hoyer will miss due to the concussion he suffered last night but I'm fine with Yates under center. Hopefully, Bill O'Brien will give Yates more leeway to run the offense than Gary Kubiak did in Yates first stint with the Texans.


I was just wondering, does anyone miss Case Keenum right about now? Hmmm.


Alfred Blue got the most carries, Jonathan Grimes ran for the most yards but the ground game didn't do much at all. Between Blue, Grimes, Polk, Hoyer and Yates they only gained a total of 82 yards. The Texans only passed for a total of 202 yards but it was five more yards than Andy Dalton threw for (197) and the Texans D did not allow a TD on the night. This will have to get better from Houston's standpoint if they hope to do any good over the next 4 games.


It's too bad that New Orleans fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan yesterday because it would have been nice to face the Saints with a defense that gave up 47 points to the Redskins. Houston plays the Saints in 2 weeks. This week's opponent will be the Jets who have what Houston has---a good defense and a shaky offense. The Jets offense is made even shakier because QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had surgery on his injured thumb last Friday after the Jets lost to the Bills on Thursday night. Fitzpatrick stands a good chance of missing this game giving way to Geno Smith. BTW that is a good thing for the Texans because Smith is not a good QB. The game against the Jets could conceivably end up another 10-6 affair unless Houston can find a way to generate some O against the Jets.


In his enthusiasm for the win last night JJ Watt said that it was Houston's goal to make the Red Rifle (referring to Andy Dalton) look like a Red Ryder BB gun. It was a little uncharacteristic of Watt to dog an opponent and he immediately tried to do damage control by saying that Dalton and the Bengals were great. The comment by Watt apparently made Dalton a little hot under the collar and you can understand why especially since Dalton has come under a lot of criticism for his lack of playoff success in Cincy. Oh well.


This is the first time this season Houston has won back-to-back games. Hopefully they will make it a trifecta this week at home vs the Jets.

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The Dallas Cowboys released backup QB Brandon Weeden yesterday. I'll bet you're probably thinking, "EE, did you make a mistake? This is the Texans thread!" No, I didn't make a mistake because the Texans, with the availability of Brian Hoyer up in the air and no real backup with any experience on the roster the Texans let Weeden stay unemployed for long. Check that, with no other QB on the roster other than Hoyer and T J Yates the Texans had to make a move. According to NFL.com Brian Hoyer will be out this week as he undergoes the NFL concussion protocol. Hoyer was not cleared to practice today.


Other roster info as Houston began prep for the Jets at home this week.

> Kareem Jackson and Jadeveon Clowney both returned to practice today. Jackson has missed the last 3 games because of an ankle injury and Clowney has been out for 2 weeks because of a low back issue. Both players indicated that they were happy to be back. Jackson, Clowney and CB Jonathan Joseph were limited in today's practice. Joseph is dealing with a calf issue.

> Beside Brian Hoyer the following players did not participate in practice, Akeem Dent, DeAndre Hopkins and Chris Polk. Dent has been out with a bad hamstring and Polk is dealing with his own hamstring issue even though he played on Monday night against the Bengals. Hopkins played every offensive snap against Cincy too but he is nursing a sore knee. Odds are he was being allowed to rest his knee and by Thursday or Friday, at the latest, Hopkins will be back in practice.


One note about the Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick had surgery on his injured thumb last Friday the day after the Jets lost a close game to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football. Despite that fact Fitz is planning to be in the lineup against the Texans on Sunday. We'll see but I would be happy to see Geno Smith in the lineup because IMO Smith is a terrible QB and it would be beneficial to Houston if he plays.

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Brian Hoyer has been ruled out of this week's game because of concussion meaning T J Yates will start. This became official yesterday. Yates will be making his first start since being signed three weeks ago. This will also be Yate's first regular season start since Week 17 of 2011. Yates was signed after Ryan Mallett was released after missing yet another team meeting. Despite all the hype about Mallett's signing he turned out to be just another bust with a big arm.


Houston will be without just two players this week. Hoyer and Kareem Jackson who is still dealing with a bad ankle. Two other players, LB Akeem Dent and RB Chris Polk are listed as questionable. On the Jets side RB Dion Bailey is out with bad ankle and DB Buster Skrine and DL Sheldon Richardson are both questionable for tomorrow's game.


Texans beat writer Drew Dougharty gives us his 5 things to watch in this week's game vs the Jets in the article linked below.




I agree with Dougharty's list. The matchup between Hopkins and Reavis will be interesting especially since Yates has to be pretty rusty going into the game. There is a big difference in practice and game speed. Luckily Yates got his feet wet last Monday night against the Bengals but I'll wager the Texans will need more than 10 points to beat the Jets.


I am wondering if Houston will open the roof for tomorrow's game? Today sucks with all the rain, that I hope stops well before Lamar-McNeese starts, but it's supposed to be sunny and rather cool. Perfect football weather as it looks like according weather forecasts. The thing is, NRG Stadium is louder than crap with the roof closed. Either way, with Houston on a 2 game winning streak, it's first of the season, you can bet the crowd will be jacked up.


One other note, Jacksonville, with their win on Thursday night is tied with Houston and Indy in the win column and one behind in the loss column. Could it be the recently improved Jags have made the AFC South a 3 team race? If Indy and Houston both lose it will be a 3 way tie for 1st place in a mediocre division race. With Indy without starting QB Andrew Luck and on the road in Atlanta, the Colts should lose. If Indy does go down and Houston can it 3 in a row they will have a full game lead in the division with a .500 record. Unreal. Then again, maybe not. Looking at the NFC East the Giants own the division lead with a 5-5 record and they are on their bye week. So maybe we shouldn't be feeling so bad after all. It does mean something that Houston is in the thick of things while the cross state rival Cowboys are hoping for a miraculous comeback from the 2-7 hole they're in right now.

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The Texans are going into the game this week pretty healthy considering this is the 11th week of the season and the bumps and bruises and pulls and tears are beginning to take their toll on every roster in the NFL including Houston's. WR DeAndre Hopkins has been limited but he will play setting up a big matchup in the game with Jets DB Darrelle Revis. This really means that Nate Washington, Cecil Shorts and Jalen Strong will need to step up and have a big day. The Texans will also be counting on the RBs out of the backfield and the TE play to carry the team. I do not see Houston running the ball against the Jets with any great success. The Texans have only had one game where the run game was effective and that was Alfred Blue's 139 yards in 31 carries against Tampa in Week 3. That was darn near 2 months ago. The Texans will be counting on TJ Yates, making his first start since rejoining the Texans after Ryan Mallett's release. Yates went into the game last Monday in the 2nd half after Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion and led Houston to a very unexpected defeat of the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals. Yates has had a full week of prep for this game and he isn't getting any breaks facing one of the top defenses in the NFL. One thing though, the Jets are not exactly tearing up their schedule as they have lost 3 of their last 4 games. The Jets have lost to the Patriots, the Raiders and the Bills. That game was 11 days ago on Thursday night. That is one advantage the Jets have on the Texans as they have had 4 extra days of rest while the Texans had only 6 days total since their big Monday night win. Houston is on a bit of a roll as the defense has found about 2 extra gears as they have not allowed a TD in the last 10 quarters. I noticed that while the Texans didn't go crazy with play calling, preferring to stay somewhat conservative with the new guy under center, they haven't handcuffed Yates the way Gary Kubiak did when he coached the Texans through 2013. It seems that Bill O'Brien seems more confident in Yates than Kubiak. I know Yates has had the last two seasons to mature but he was still not starting games. Yates continued as backup in Houston through that 2013 season but he became expendable in 2014 when the numbers didn't favor keeping him. The Texans had Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett and newly drafted Tom Savage. There just wasn't room enough at the inn for Yates who was traded to Atlanta for LB Akeem Dent. (A trade I think Houston got the better of.) As a matter of fact Yates wasn't even on anyone's practice squad last season as Atlanta cut Yates on the final cut down before Week 1. Yates was on the practice squad only probably running the scout team. Talk about your from the outhouse to the penthouse story this is it. However, if the story is to have a happy ending Yates needs to win when he gets his chances and this week is a biggie. Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starting QB for the Jets and I'm sure he'd like nothing better than knock off his former team. Houston has an intimidating atmosphere at NRG Stadium but the Jets are used to that. The weather is a non-factor so it all come down to execution. No excuses. Can our guys beat your guys, sort of a situation. Good. I'll take that because I think our team can match up with the Jets. We need to keep winning to maintain our hold on 1st place in the AFC South. Wow, did you not see that coming. Doesn't it seem like we're in last place? We're not and we need to win games to stay on top. Between injuries and mediocre play in the division it's all right there for Houston to take advantage of. All we have to do is win. Sounds so simple but to win an NFL game isn't all that simple at all. If we can get the same defense we've seen the past two weeks and the offense makes 4 or 5 big plays I think we can win this game. So, what's the final score?


Houston 20 NY Jets 13

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I was right about this being a defensive struggle and I even got the margin of victory correct. So, instead of 20-13 it was 24-17 either way it was a good win for the Texans. Even though the Jets have lost 4 out of the last 5 games the Jets are better than that. The biggest matchup of the day was always Hopkins vs Revis and I'd have to say Hopkins won the war. His 5 catches for 118 yards and 2 TDs was the story. Revis actually left the game in the 4th quarter with a concussion so I guess Hopkins really, really won the war.

The other big story was the way the Texans utilized the Wildcat offense. Cecil Shorts and Jonathan Grimes both took snaps in the wildcat and for the most part they did some damage mainly keeping the ball and peeling off nice runs off the formation. The whole time you had to wonder if Houston was setting the Jets up for something. Well, they were and they did. Cecil Shorts took a snap and he faked a handoff to and then hit Alfred Blue for an easy 21 yard TD pass. The defense played a pretty good game. They did break down and allowed a couple of TDs in the second half but you kind of had the feeling that Houston wasn't going to lose control of the game. The first TD allowed to start the 2nd half was the first one allowed in the previous 12 quarters. The Saints are next up and you can bet Houston needs to play well against Drew Brees because it will be to the Saints advantage to make the game a shootout. The Saints are coming off their bye week and they are also breaking in a new defensive coordinator since they fired Rob Ryan last week. I would expect the defense to play much better than they had been under Ryan. I can't imagine this game will be any sort of picnic for the Texans. It remains to be seen if TJ Yates will still be playing. It all depends on if Brian Hoyer can pass the concussion protocols or not. One thing is for certain Bill O'Brien didn't baby Yates by just handing the ball off. Yates threw the ball 34 times including the 61 yard bomb to Hopkins. Yates was a little off on some passes including overthrowing Hopkins on a go route in the first half when he had Revis beaten badly. The 16 completions he had was less than 50% completionrate (47% to be exact) wasn't great but all in all for a guy who hadn't started an NFL game since 2011 he didn't do bad. The most important stat was Yates did not throw and INT although he did lose a fumble but Houston won the turnover battle 2 to 1 with the Texans picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick twice. They forced Fitz to fumble once but the Jets were able to recover it. The Texans won the stat battles across the board including the most important stat, the final score. Nice win to hang their hats on and some momentum going into the Saints game next Sunday. It's nice to see Houston winning and yesterday would have been even more sweet if Atlanta hadn't choked like a bunch of dogs allowing Indianapolis to come back from a 21-7 deficit in the 2nd half to win 24-21. So, instead of picking up a game on Indy and owning sole possession of 1st place in the AFC South they are still in a tie with the confounded Colts. Not only that but the Jags are just a game behind them. We can now be unabashed Tampa Bay Bucs fans as they come off an old fashioned ass whoopin of the Philadelphia Eagles. Let's hope Jameis Winston and the Bucs can take their newly found awesomeness on the road to Indy.

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The Texans are beating the Saints today. I have to believe that because I haven't got anyone left to believe in. Okay, so that was overly dramatic I apologize. I am still in shock about the 2 losses on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys and Tony Romo. There goes my hope for a Texas Super Bowl yet again. But, that doesn't mean I'm not looking for a Texans win today. Houston has got the Saints at home. We'll see if there is any improvement in the defense coming off a bye week after DC Rob Ryan was fired. I don't care. Houston needs a win and I am a homer so I'm saying it will be so. Brian Hoyer will be back in the lineup and that mean the Texans will be, for all intents and purposes, at full strength. We will have a loud and proud crowd in the friendly confines of NRG Stadium and we are riding the high of a 3 game winning streak. I am feeling it today. Houston beats the Saints and Tampa whips Indy even though Indy is at home. By 3:30 this afternoon Houston will be in sole possession of first place in the AFC South. In a perfect world Jacksonville will lose to San Diego. Okay, that may be a stretch considering how bad San Diego has been playing but a person can hope can't he?

Final score of the game?


Houston 27 New Orleans 22

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I guess you can't always get what you want but if you try, sometimes, you get what you need. Okay, you caught me quoting the Rolling Stones but isn't it true more often than not? What I, and a lot of Texans fans, wanted was an Indianapolis loss but despite having a 40 year old backup the stupid Colts just won't go away. The "get what you need" part was simply the win yesterday to remain tied for 1st place in the AFC South with those pesky Colts. For the other part of "get what you need" was both Jacksonville and Tennessee lost yesterday which means the division standings are:

Houston 6-5

Indy 6-5

Jax 4-7

Tenn 2-9


It's incredible that there is actually a team with a worse record than Dallas, but danged if Tennessee didn't manage it!


Yesterday's 24-6 win was just a defensive slam dunk by the Texans with JJ Watt leading an onslaught of the New Orleans offense. They kept the Saints from scoring a TD for the first time since 2005 and it ended a 45 consecutive game streak of Drew Brees throwing a TD pass. Brees already holds the NFL record of most games in a row with a TD pass in 54 games so now he will have start a new streak. But, if the Saints don't learn to play some defense it won't matter how many TDs Brees throws because the Saints will still lose. Coming off a bye and two weeks removed from firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan the defense showed zero improvement. This Saints team is just plain bad right now. The Texans did what good teams do to bad teams, they beat them soundly. Brian Hoyer was efficient and despite the Saints taking DeAndre Hopkins out of the game they showed enough offense to score 24 points. In fact the Texans opened up a quick 14 point lead as Houston scored on their first two possessions of the game. At one time in the recent past a 14 point lead on the Saints didn't mean squat because of the offensive numbers the Saints could put up but right now there is a severe dearth of talent on the Saints offense. Bad line, shaky receiving corp, TE that is no Jimmy Graham and I'm convinced Drew Brees shoulder is still giving him trouble. So Houston has won 4 in a row and that's a good thing especially for a team that began the season 2-5. The Cowboys dreamt of this type of rebound to their season but it just isn't going to happen because Dallas doesn't have this defense. Since a disastrous first half against Miami in Week 7 Houston has turned themselves around. They have become the defense we, and they, expected to be coming out of training camp. The offense is gaining confidence as they have pieced together a running game that is surprisingly effective. Even special teams is playing well. Now, the challenge is to keep it going. The next three games will be no picnic. First the Bills in Buffalo, next the Patriots at home and Indy on the road. In my estimation Houston will need to win 2 out of the 3 to be where they want to be as they head into the season ending games with Jax and Tennessee. For sure one of the games they win will need to be over Indy. The best odds of Houston winning that 2nd game will probably be this coming weekend in Buffalo.

Edited by eagle eye
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The Texans are in the midst of a 4 game winning streak that has totally turned their season around. They have gone from the outhouse to a much nicer apartment. They aren't in the penthouse just yet but a few more wins then their address will markedly improve. A byproduct of success is an accolade or two follows and that is what has happened because DE JJ Watt has won AFC Defensive Player of the Month of November. It's incredible what Watt has done as 3-4 defensive end. He is the defending Defensive Player of the Year for 2014 and he currently leads the NFL in sacks. The whole freaking NFL. For those who say Watt is overrated or he's all hype are people who are just jealous of him and his immense talent. You go, JJ, you go.




One thing that is starting to come to light is how well the O-line has been playing. It's taken a while as the line has had to deal with a lot injuries beginning from Week 1 but now there has been some continuity to the line and they are playing at a high level. What has sort of flown under the radar is the presence of 2014 2nd round draft choice Xavier Su'a-Filo. The X-man did play in 13 games in 2014 but because of injury or inexperience or ineffectiveness he didn't show up like you would hope the first pick in the 2nd round of a draft would do. He didn't participate much in OTA's or training camp because of injury and he didn't play a game in 2015 until the Atlanta game in Week 4. The like Su'a-Filo the line has gotten better as they played together more and they are showing real improvement. It's not how you start, it's how you finish and the Texans have been the living proof of that old saying. At least up to now.




This week's game against Buffalo will be an important matchup for both teams as they continue to jockey for a playoff spot but it will be the first time two former team mates from Clemson and two former 1st round draft picks will be meet each other in the regular season since coming to the NFL. Of course I'm talking about the Texans DeAndre Hopkins and Buffalo's Sammy Watkins. You would thing both players would like to outdo the other one in this game so it should be a big matchup to watch as the defenses from the two teams try to stop, or at least slow down, the other team's stud WR.




Another reunion of note in the game will be for LT Duane Brown of the Texans and Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor. The two were team mates at Virginia Tech. Here's an article from Texans.com's feature "Breakfast With the Bulls".



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Injury update:

Houston - Only DE JJ Watt and RB Alfred Blue were limited in Friday's practice. Both win play today although the bigger scare was the potential loss of Watt. He had missed Wednesday and Thursday practices because of a tender groin but even then the Texans said he would play today. Even though there were 11 other Texans on the injury list all were listed as full participants in practice and will play.

Buffalo - A little different story for the Bills who will have 3 players out for today's game and one listed as doubtful. The 3 who will miss are LB Nigel Badham, G John Miller and RB Karlos Williams. The doubtful player is T Seantrel Henderson (illness). There are 5 listed as probable with the most notable being QB Tyron Taylor who has been dealing with a shoulder injury for about 4 weeks.


Shoulder injuries are a tricky lot. You never know just how bad they are. Even if the player is playing, you can't be sure just how much pain the player is dealing with. Then there is the ability, or lack thereof, to fully use that arm and in Tyrod Taylor's case that becomes a pretty significant question to ask because his shoulder injury is one his passing arm. This could be just the Bills listing him on their report but to what end I can't guess what the strategy would be. Houston will undoubtedly assume that if Taylor is playing he will be 100%. The assume anything less would be stupid and I don't believe the Texans are stupid. Taylor probably doesn't want to get him on that shoulder though because I'll bet it's not completely healthy and the one thing for sure is, Houston will want to test it for him. Taylor is a mobile QB and as such poses a double threat. The only two other mobile QB's the Texans have faced this season are Cam Newton and Ryan Tannehill. I would say Taylor falls pretty much in between. Trouble is both the Dolphins and Panther beat Houston. The unbeaten Panthers won by 7 points which isn't too bad all things considered and the beat down by the Dolphins was just a bad day at the office. In fact the Dolphins scored most of their points and all of their TDs in the first half. Beginning with the second half of the Dolphins game Houston didn't up a TD for 12 quarters. The second half of the Jets game was the first TD's allowed since the Miami game. Houston came back a week later against the Saints and began a new streak of TD-less quarters as they shut the Saints out in TD's allowing two field goals for the whole game.

The Texans have now won 4 games in a row looking to add Buffalo to that list. Houston really needs to win today because the road gets tougher next week as they face the Patriots. I'm sure nobody thought Houston would win out but they need to win most of them and it begins with Buffalo, in Buffalo today. The issue with the Bills is they have been having a hard time stopping the run and that is just what the Texans have been doing well the past two weeks gaining 150+ yards on the ground in both games. Brian Hoyer has been solid and effective which just what you want from your QB especially in December. There are five games left in the 2015 season and being tied for the division lead with Indy at this point of the season is not something the Texans would have thought would be the case after starting 2-5 but that's what winning four in a row does for you.

The last factor is in December the weather can get to be a bit of a challenge with lake effect snows coming off Lake Erie and it's cold and windy much of the time to boot. So, I decided to check in with weather.com and see what the forecast holds for the game today. It's going to be a great day for football in Buffalo! Cloudy skies, light winds (5-10 mph) and high of 49 degrees with the temperature at kickoff at 42 degrees.

This kind of game scares me because it's on the road and Houston seems to hold a clear advantage but I have to believe the Texans will keep their winning streak going this week unless they are peeking ahead at the Patriots game. I don't think Bill O'Brien will let that happen. He is always preaching that the game your playing if the only one that matters and this could be a big win with Houston getting a leg up on a team who is also trying to position themselves for the playoffs. It's too big a game to take for granted and I don't think the Texans will. I will worry about Indianapolis after Houston plays. The Colts don't play until tonight against the Steelers. It sure would be sweet if the Steelers could take care of business at home against the Colts but it will be all the more sweet if Houston takes care of business in Buffalo at 12 o'clock today. So, what's the final score?


Houston 27 Buffalo 13

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Boy, did the Texans ever blow an opportunity yesterday. The Bills were ripe for the taking but Houston didn't have the stuff to take it. It's hard to say your QB was part of the problem when he throws for 297 yards and 3 TDs but Hoyer was also as inaccurate as hell at critical times. One example was he had DeAndre Hopkins wide open behind the defense on a go route and over threw him--badly. If it's a good throw it's an easy six as it was it was bupkis. I don't know if it's me but when a WR demonstrates he just doesn't have it on a particular day, I stop throwing to him and that's what Hoyer should have done. Instead he kept throwing at Nate Washington and he kept dropping the damn ball. On the final drive Cecil Shorts dropped a ball, or rather failed to hold on to the ball after a hit by a DB. Shorts made a body catch and had the ball with both hands against his body and he still dropped the ball. An NFL receiver is supposed to make that catch. The thought process being, if I'm going to take a hit I might as well catch the ball. The Jets weren't better than Houston in any particular phase except the run game. Houston some minor success running the ball but the Bills were better. Houston gained 120 yards on the ground on 26 carries but the Bills gained 187 yards on 36 carries mainly on the legs of LeSean McCoy who picked up 112 yards on 21 carries. Houston made some critical mistakes that helped the Bills get the ball on a short field. The most critical mistakes were actually the inability of the Texans defense to stop the run but there were mistakes made from an unexpected source. In the first half blown coverages by rookie 1st round draft pick CB Kevin Johnson resulted in 21 first half points for Buffalo. Johnson was actually benched in the latter stages of the 2nd quarter. He returned to action in the second half but the damage had been done. The way the defense played yesterday it was a nightmarish flashback to the lousy defense the Texas played in the first month of the season. Couldn't stop the run and breakdowns in the pass defense cost them dearly. I suppose winning 4 in a row is hard enough but generally teams don't do so much to beat themselves as Houston and the Patriots did yesterday. The Pats lost at home, which almost never happens to a lousy Eagles team because of a 100 yard pick six and two special teams TDs. Brady had the same problem as Brian Hoyer did. He had trouble with his accuracy and when he did deliver the ball the receivers dropped it. It was uncharacteristic mistakes that cost the Patriots a win over hapless Philadelphia and the same type of mistakes plagued Houston yesterday too. It was a weird day in the NFL but it seems like in 2015 they are all weird. What makes this loss to Buffalo even harder to swallow was the fact that Pittsburgh opened a big ole can of whoop ass on Indy last night. Houston could have had been alone in first place with a full game lead on Indy. A glass half full guy could say at least they are still tied for 1st place in the division but with Houston facing the harder schedule in their last 4 games than Indy, including next Sunday night's game against a pissed off Patriots team, this game with the Bills needed to be won. C'est le vie. We are still tied for the lead in the AFC South so that is something to hang your hat on going forward. All I've got to say is c'mon Tennessee and c'mon Jacksonville at least when they play the Colts. After the Titans and Jags combined to score 81 points in their game yesterday it seems like both could give Indy a run for their money. Let's hope so. Edited by eagle eye
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The Texans have had 2 bad news items as they prepare for a Sunday night game against the New England Patriots. First, JJ Watt broke his hand in practice yesterday. There is a good ending behind that though as the Watt and the Texans have said he will play Sunday. Okay, nice. The second bit of bad news was that the Pats got Gronk back at practice after missing a week with a bone bruise in his leg suffered in the Denver game. The Patriots suffered quite a bit at receiver with a lot of drops. The only real reliable guy against the Eagles was backup, backup to the backup RB James White who had a breakout game getting a bunch of receptions for over 100 yards. With that performance White may have earned the trust of Brady and Belichick and he will be the next Dion Lewis. With the emergence of White and with Danny Amendola, despite a very inconsistent game last week and the return of Gronk it's really bad news for Houston. Fortunately, no game was ever won on paper so they will play and Houston has a shot at winning if the defense rebounds from a poor performance last week in Buffalo.


Since Hard Knocks this past summer the QB competition in Houston was a major storyline. To some it was a non-issue because neither Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer caused any pulses to quicken when people talked about them. They were a coin with heads on both sides. The more cynical people would probably have said it was a coin with two tails. Either way it wasn't a subject that gave people who love the Texans much hope. Both were career backups who had done nothing of note in the NFL. Hoyer had more starting experience than Mallett having been the man in Cleveland for a short time before getting hurt. But, it was just Cleveland. You know how bad those guys sucked. But, Hoyer won the job coming out of training camp and Mallett was pissed. Mallett got his chance when Hoyer laid a big fat egg in Week 1. In Week 3 Mallett may or may not have gotten a concussion but he was replaced by Hoyer and it's been Hoyer's job ever since. Mallett also showed what an ass he is on a couple of different occasions with the last incident costing him his job. Controversy over. In this article by Texans.com's Drew Dougherty he talks about Hoyer's growth as a QB as he has had time to grow in the job.



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Patriots vs Texans on Sunday Night Football. Nice. A little prime time love for the Texans was a good thing earlier this year when Houston went on a winning streak beginning on Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals who were undefeated at the time. Now the 10-2 Patriots, who are hurting something awful as all their skill players keep falling by the wayside, are ripe for a Houston victory. Maybe Gronk plays for them, maybe not. The fact is the Bengals, who were at home when they played the Texans, were at full strength but this Texans team took it to the Bengals and beat them without allowing a single TD in the game against one of the best offenses in the league. Pretty heady stuff. I know that I'd have a lot more confidence in Houston if the defense hadn't laid such a big egg in Buffalo but this Patriots O-line is not healthy. They have been piecemealed together and they have not been all that great this year. It is a testament to Tom Brady's greatness that the Patriots, for the most part, keep winning.

The Texans Chris Polk has been more and more important to the offense of late lapping Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes in touches. Not sure if this is just an aberration or Polk just being the guy to step up and take control of the RB position.

JJ Watt broke his hand in practice this week and it can't help but hurt his effectiveness some but in the end Watt should smack the Patriots line around like a bunch of abused prisoners. I think that despite his broken hand Watt will have a big game against Brady and company. One thing is for sure, there is nobody like the Bills Sammy Watkins on the Patriots so any possible breakdowns rookie ace CB Kevin Johnson had last week against the Bills isn't going to happen. I think Watt will have a huge game tonight broken hand and all.

The Patriots are not healthy on defense either. Houston will not be seeing the smoothing defense they had to deal with in Buffalo so the offense should be able to find some holes in the running and passing games. As long as Hoyer is solid Houston will be fine.

One last thing. Houston is at home and they are on a prime time game which mean the whole league will be watching them battle the Patriots. There aren't many places louder than NRG stadium and they could challenge the decibel level record if Houston gets going against the Patriots. It will be loud as hell in NRG tonight and that is a very intimidating thing even for a 3 time Super Bowl legend like Tom Brady. Especially when Brady is without most of his best weapons. So, what is the final score?


Houston 29 New England 22

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It's interesting the parallel between the Cowboys and the Texans in terms of their QB play. Now, Houston has had a bit more success than Dallas but yesterday you saw when how a QB can drag the rest of the team down with them. The Texans and Cowboys are following a QB that used to be a backup to Tom Brady in New England. Both guys used to start for other teams without much success and both guys are hit or miss from week to week. Shoot, sometimes play to play. Again, Brian Hoyer has shown more than Matt Cassel but it's clear neither is bringing much to the table. Finally, it is not just the QB that is a problem in both cities. Breakdowns in the offensive line and sporadic incompetence on defense have cost the Cowboys and Texans dearly. Both teams play hard but they just don't seem to have what it takes find a consistent level of play. It's too bad for Dallas because yesterday's loss to the Packers all but eliminated them from any possibility of a post season berth. Houston, on the other hand, is still tied with Indianapolis for first place in the AFC South. With Jacksonville coming on strong and just one game behind the Colts and Texans they look like the best team in the division right now. Jax totally destroyed the Colts yesterday 51-16 and with games left against Atlanta, who is just a dumpster fire right now, New Orleans, who is showing signs of life, and the Texans who are not looking real good the past two weeks. If Jax wins out and finishes 8-8 they could be the division winner. Between the AFC South and the NFC East it is hard to really say which is worse. This has been a very unusual year in the NFL to say the very least and fans of the Cowboys and Texans haven't had much to crow about. It's a shame that a team like New England who is so banged up and missing players left and right can go out and just dominate the Texans the way they did. It's a crying shame. I look forward to the fall every year and for the first time in years the Cowboys finally rewarded my long suffering last season going 12-4 and missing out on the NFC Championship game by one bad call and having high hopes for 2015. For the first time in years I had high expectations for the Cowboys going into this season only to have everything come crashing down when Tony Romo was lost due to a broken collar bone. As things turned out the season ended for Dallas in Philadelphia in Week 2. After shocking everyone in 2014 by going 9-7 you figured Houston would be able to challenge Indianapolis for the division. Now, Houston is challenging Indy for the division but with both at 6-7 and major injuries taking their toll on them both there is no guarantee that Houston or Indy will even win the division at this point. Both divisions and both teams are a joke right now and it's a shame for this whole season of high hopes and expectations to be ruined before Christmas. Heck, in Dallas case it was ruined on Thanksgiving when Carolina beat the crap out of Dallas and reinjured the collar bone of Tony Romo. The parallels between Dallas and Houston are unmistakable and yet another yet of my dream of a Texas Super Bowl are swirling down the toilet. I am no longer pissed but I am EXTREMELY disappointed in a what has become an empty fall.
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The season is on the line this week in Indianapolis. No pulling punches, no BS, the Texans win and they will be in first place in the AFC South and a full game up on Indianapolis with 2 games to play. If they lose they will be 2 games under .500 and one game back of Indy in the division. If Houston ends up on the wrong side of the scoreboard this week that 6-8 record will likely kick them out of any wild card chance. The Wild Card is not going to be something a team in the AFC South will not have to worry about. It's going to be division or bust and the Texans need to reboot their offense and start scoring points. That and the defense needs to start stopping opposing offenses as they have regressed to become the defense who couldn't stop anyone in the first month of the season. They gave up 30 to Buffalo two weeks ago and they gave up 27 to the Patriots last week. The offense who looked during their 4 game winning streak to get back into the playoff hunt that they had found something they could build upon. The O-line was solid and opening holes for the run game and Brian Hoyer was efficient, not great mind you, but efficient. How much did breaking his hand effect JJ Watt last week and going forward. The guys in the trenches use their hands -- a lot-- and without the ability to grab an offensive lineman and move him where you need to in order to get him out of the way in the process of making a play it can't help but reduce Watt's effectiveness. Who will be the Colts QB this week is still up in the air. Matt Hasselbeck left the game against the Jaguars Sunday with a back issue and Charlie Whitehurst took his place so, if Hasselbeck can't go then it will be Whitehurst under center for the Colts. Andrew Luck is still not ready to play but he has begun to throw and he hopes to practice this week. The Colts defense had been playing quite well in recent weeks, that is until they ran into a Jacksonville buzz-saw last week losing to the Jags 51-16. Hopefully the Colts will still be hung over from that ass whoopin and Houston can take advantage of the opportunity to take the lead in the division.

Houston can't rest on their laurels if they do win because this Jacksonville team is getting to be a difficult out and if the recent past is any indication they ought to beat the crap out of a woeful Atlanta Falcons team. This Christmas season isn't going to jolly, it's going to be nerve wracking as these 3 teams vie for a playoff prize. These teams won't likely celebrate Christmas until January!

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