Making The Case: Houston
Houston never lost on Wild Card Weekend, can a case be made for the Texans?
Going up against the NFC East for title of worst division in football, the Texans won the meager AFC South at 9-7 despite using four different starting QBs this season. Brian Hoyer, TJ Yates, Ryan Mallet and Brandon Weeden. Yes, THE Brandon Weeden. Going into their matchup with Kansas City the Texans will most likely have Brian Hoyer starting with Weeden as the backup. Depending on the health of Andy Dalton the Texans could be trotting out the worst QB of all the playoff teams but the way they’re playing, it may not matter. Winning three straight, all over divisional opponents, including a 30-6 drubbing of Jacksonville to seal the AFC South title.
So how is this team that will go into battle with below average QB play going to make a run to win the ultimate prize?
Houston boasts the third best defense in the NFL behind Denver and Seattle and they’re led by one of, if not the best defensive player in all of football, JJ Watt. He’s the captain and he had an absolutely fantastic season, Watt and the Texans defense were top 5 in sacks accumulating 45 of them this year, Watt was responsible for 17.5.
Another key component has been former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who had a solid bounce back season after an injury plagued rookie year. Clowney had 4.5 sacks this year, which may not seem like a lot, but his presence on the defensive front alone helps take a bit of pressure off Watt and linebacker Whitney Mercilus. I think most of the credit for the defense’s success should fall on the shoulders of Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Not many teams in the playoffs are going to want to face this defense, especially the way they’ve been playing over the past month.
Looking on the offensive side of the ball you’ve got arguably one of the best wide recievers in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins. Despite the Merry-Go-Round of QBs the Texans had this year,
Hopkins was still able to rack up over 1500 yards and 11 TDs.
Losing running back Arian Foster for the season appeared to hurt the Texans but they’ve have a bunch of solid no name backs split carries as Alfred Blue, Chris Polk, and Jonathan Grimes all filled in very well in Foster’s place.
Brian Hoyer will most likely be the starter in the playoffs and when he was in he did a very good job, throwing for over 2500 yards and 19 TDs to just 7 INTs, if Hoyer spreads the ball out and the offense gets creative they should be able to put up just enough points for the defense to hold and take them far in the playoffs.