There’s no team in the NFL who has had a season like the Houston Texans.
The start of the season was like a nightmare for every Texans fan. They started off the season 0-3 with a loss to New England, another embarrassing loss to a banged up Titans team, and a loss to the 1 win New York Giants. The start gave fans little hope that the Texans would be able to turn it around.
Ever since the start, the Texans were able to catch great luck. They were able to put together a current 6 game win streak. Some of the wins were luck, including two OT wins against the Cowboys and Colts, a game winning pick 6 against the Bills, and a missed game winning kick versus the Broncos.
While there is no doubt that some of the wins were luck, it wasn’t the main reason why the Texans were able to turn their season around. Improvement in offensive line play, QB play, and secondary play also contributed to the Texans current win streak. The Texans have been just as good as they have been lucky.
Having a talented roster is another reason why the Texans have been able to turn their season around. From top to bottom, they possess a top 10 roster filled with leaders and youth.
Offense (Grade: C+)
So far, the offense has been underperforming. Mostly because of the offensive line play, the Texans weren’t able to find a stride on offense in the beginning of the season. Watson took a big beating the first 6 games of the season, sustaining a lung injury during the process. The last three games against the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Broncos saw a much better offensive line play.
However, the offensive line wasn’t the only reason why the offensive line was underachieving. The Texans were struggling in the red zone at the beginning of the season as well. The offense didn’t have troubles moving the ball and getting to the red zone. It was just finishing drives that were a problem. Look at this statistic comparing the Texans offense to the Chiefs, one of the best offenses in the NFL.
— Alex Thomas (@Alex_Thomas410) October 18, 2018
However, the Texans have been on fire in the red zone as of late. They have scored on the majority of their drives with TD’s.
Short field for the #Texans. TD to Hopkins for 16. Now up to 9-of-10 in red zone in the past three weeks.
— patrick (@PatDStat) November 4, 2018
With the injury to Will Fuller, it’s tough to imagine the Texans getting better on offense. Outside of Hopkins and Watson, Fuller was the most important piece to the Texans offense. He literally scared defenses with his speed. The Texans made a great move trading for Demaryius Thomas, but there is simply no replacement for Will Fuller.
Defense (Grade: A-)
The defense has once again been the strongest group of the team. They started the season slow, giving up 20 points or more during their 3 game losing streak. It was evident that the defense needed time to gain some chemistry together.
Now, the defense has been great. The last three games, the defense has gave up an average of 15.6 points a game. Stars like JJ Watt, Clowney, Jackson, Joseph, and Mathieu has been dominating and helping the defense remain the best in the NFL. They should be able to maintain their level of play. In the last 7 games, the Texans are facing 2 teams whose offense is ranked in the top 15 in the NFL.
Special Teams (Grade: B-)
The special teams hasn’t been special, but they have been better this season than in previous years. Surprisingly enough, the Texans have the top ranked special teams performer in the NFL.
#Texans LB Brennan Scarlett has been one of the best special teams players in the league this year. Scarlett's grade of 87.1 ranks first among 169 qualifying special teams players this season.
— PFF HOU Texans (@PFF_Texans) November 10, 2018
Rookie of the Mid-year: Justin Reid.
There has been little doubt that the best rookie so far on the Texans has been Justin Reid. Reid has been playing anything but like a rookie. So far, he has a stat line of 49 tackles, 5 pass deflections, two interceptions, and no missed tackles. Having almost 50 tackles with no misses is almost unheard of, especially for a rookie. Reid has been in a crowded secondary with Kareem Jackson, Tyrann Mathieu, and Andre Hal in the safety position. He has still been able to perform and standout.
#Texans rookie Justin Reid continues to be one of the NFL's best tacklers. He totaled 10 tackles & 2 defensive stops vs DEN, improving his tackling grade from 91.1 to 91.5 (1st) on the season
He now has 41 tackles w/o a miss. The next closest safety w/o a miss has 18 tackles 😱 pic.twitter.com/BEGDSdtNaC
— PFF HOU Texans (@PFF_Texans) November 6, 2018
Offensive Player of the Mid-year: Deandre Hopkins.
This was a close call between Hopkins and Watson, but I have to give it to Hopkins. He has been not only the best performer, but the most consistent person on the offense. He is the only Texan that hasn’t had a bad performance yet. The greatest thing about Deandre Hopkins is that even when he is covered he is open.
Leading the league in receptions in contested catch situations, DeAndre Hopkins is one of the wide receivers on our midseason All-Pro team. For the full team, click below.
⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ https://t.co/VJsnYvlD3U
— PFF (@PFF) October 30, 2018
Hopkins currently has 63 catches, 894 yards, and 7 Tds, all currently ranking top-5 in the NFL. Hopkins is steady building his resume as the best WR in the NFL.
Defensive Player of the Mid-year: Kareem Jackson
This was a tough choice for me as well. The defense has so much talent with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Tyrann Mathieu, Zach Cunningham, and Johnathan Joseph. However, the top performer of the defense thus far has been Kareem Jackson.
It’s still amazing to me how Jackson has went from the whipping boy of the defense to possibly the best player on the defense. The biggest thing about him this season is his versatility. Jackson has been spending most of the season lining up at CB and Safety, but he has been excelling at both.
#Texans Kareem Jackson is the only CB this season with multiple interceptions (2) & pass breakups (3) with no TDs allowed. His stats & rank for qualifying CBs:
-90.1 overall (2nd)
-89.9 run-defense (3rd)
-86.8 coverage (5th)
-22 stops (2nd)
Time to start talking All-Pro 🔥 pic.twitter.com/12a5jPooWC
— PFF HOU Texans (@PFF_Texans) November 9, 2018
Kareem has even been bringing the energy for the Texans this season, this being a prime example:
Jackson has a stat line of 51 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 10 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. This is all-pro type numbers. It is more than time to begin the conversation for Kareem Jackson being all-pro.
MVP of the Mid-year: Deshaun Watson
Although I gave the best offensive player of the season so far to Deandre Hopkins, the MVP of the season has been Deshaun Watson. He has been the captain of the Texans ship. While he is guiding it, it’s been smooth sailing, but when he doesn’t, all hell breaks lose in the sea. Even during the times where the ship will get rocky, Watson has been able to weather the storm. He has battled terrible offensive line play as well as injuries to his offensive weapons. The reason why we are still 6-3 even after losing Will Fuller and Keke Coutee has been because of Watson. He’s even getting better with time.
Led by QB @DeshaunWatson’s eight touchdowns and zero interceptions, the #Texans offense did not commit a turnover from Weeks 7-9, which marks the longest streak of games without an INT in Watson’s career and the longest streak of games without a turnover in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/Q1YZewKpSI
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) November 12, 2018
The Texans have a shot of being a real SB contender with Watson as the QB. If he were to go down again, there’s no chance of winning no matter how good the offensive weapons are.
Play of the Mid-year:
This is the best catch that never counted. Hopkins making a catch between his thighs.
This play didn't count … BUT HOW DID DEANDRE HOPKINS CATCH THAT??
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 26, 2018
The Texans are in a good place after the bye. In the next 7 games, they play only two teams with a record over .500. With a two game lead in the AFC South, the Texans should be able to finish strong and secure a playoff spot this season. However, we shall see how the story will unfold.
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