Yesterday, we looked at the first half of the Texans’ season. Now, let’s dive into the second half.
The second half
Week Nine, in London against the Jaguars
My prediction: The Texans will be making their first ever trip to London, where they will face the Jaguars for the second and final time of the 2019 season. It will be interesting to see how the Texans handle the time difference, but at 5–3 and 1–1 in the division at this point in the season, this game is very important to Houston and they will scrap this game out, 17–10.
Texans’ record: 6–3
Week Ten: Bye
Week Eleven, at Baltimore
My prediction: Like the game at Arrowhead with the Chiefs, the Texans will have another fun challenge at Baltimore against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Because Lamar can hurt the Texans with his legs as well as his arm, this one’s probably coming down to the offense. Similar to the Chargers matchup, this one also feels like a coin flip game, but I lean towards Houston even in a hostile environment; the Texans take it 27–20.
Texans’ record: 7–3
Week Twelve, at home against the Indianapolis Colts
My prediction: The Colts tripped the Texans up in Indianapolis; now the Texans get a chance at some payback for last year’s AFC wild card game, while also inching closer to the AFC South crown. The Texans get the split, winning 34–27.
Texans’ record: 8–3
Week Thirteen, at home against the New England Patriots
My prediction: The Texans go against the Patriots for the fifth consecutive season. Is someone at NFL Operations trying to beg the Texans into stepping up to take down New England? Regardless of the reason, I’ll believe Houston can beat New England when it actually happens. At least with Watson, Houston is not as overmatched as they were in years past. Patriots beat the Texans 38–31.
Texans’ record: 8–4
Week Fourteen, at home against the Denver Broncos
My prediction: The Texans will be knocking on the door for their second consecutive AFC South crown, as well as in the mix for a first-round bye. Assuming they don’t blow it like they did a season ago, I think Watson will guide the Texans to a 28–14 win at home.
Texans’ record: 9–4
Week Fifteen, at Tennessee
My prediction: The Texans don’t face the Titans until December, but two of their final three games are against the Titans. The Titans could be in the mix for one of the two final wild card spots, but against a healthy Watson when he has a rhythm, they have been outscored by the Texans 91–31 (2017; 2018). Last year’s Week Two victory over the Texans also counts. Keep in mind that that game was Watson’s second game back from a torn ACL, and he really did not appear to be in rhythm and healthy until the second half of last season.
The Texans defeat Tennessee 42–21 to win the AFC South and march towards a first-round bye.
Texans’ record: 10–4
Week Sixteen, at Tampa Bay
My prediction: The last time the Texans were in Tampa Bay was November 13, 2011. Why do I remember that? Because that was when quarterback Matt Schaub broke his foot, forcing the Texans to turn to backups Matt Leinart, then TJ Yates, in a “what could have been” year. If Schaub had not been hurt, who knows? Perhaps the 2011 Texans could have gone all the way that season.
Why is that significant in 2019? What if something happens in Tampa Bay again, creating another “what if?” scenario? But I choose optimism. The Texans defeat Tampa Bay 38–21 and continue their quest for a first-round bye.
Texans’ record: 11–4
Week Seventeen, at home against the Tennessee Titans
My prediction: In the final game of the season, there can be uncertainty as to whether the starters will play or not; it often depends on what a team has on the line (the division, a bye, or a playoff spot). I had the Texans going 12–4 in my AFC preview in July; I’m going to stick with my pick, and I have the Texans outlasting Tennessee, 20–17. Also in that preview, I had the Chargers finishing with the same record. Since I’ve got Houston winning the Week Three matchup, this win would lock up the number two seed for the Texans.
Texans’ record: 12–4
Texans Make Moves
My quick two cents on the flurry of moves: the worst move, in terms of what they got in return, was trading Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle. There was chatter that Clowney also eyed playing for the Eagles; they would have been my team of choice because of their better roster. On the Seattle side of things, don’t bet on the Seahawks signing Clowney long-term. Why? Because they were not willing to go above and beyond money-wise to keep the Legion of Boom together; and wouldn’t you know, the LOB doesn’t exist anymore. The Seahawks also traded their leading pass rusher, Frank Clark, to the Chiefs. Whether Seattle made those decisions for financial reasons or not, given what Houston got back, I would not be surprised if Clowney hit the open market soon. I am just relieved that the Clowney drama is over (for now).
As for Tunsil, Stills, and Hyde, the price to get Tunsil and Stills was steep. If that means Watson isn’t taking a bus to a road game and is no longer the most-hit and most-sacked quarterback in the league, the cost is worth it. Stills and Hyde give Houston more offensive options.
Bill O’Brien is going for it, and I respect him for finally doing so. If these deals help the Texans get farther than they have ever been, and if they keep Tunsil long term, then it will be a huge victory for the organization. If not, this could put the organization in a bit of a mess, looking for a new head coach and general manager.
A lot of people are going to raise their eyebrows at the possibility of Houston being 12–4, but if Watson can remain upright, and if the defense can be just as good without Clowney as they were a season ago, then the Texans can contend in 2019. Who knows how this season will play out? Come September 9, it will be time to get back to football, and begin another quest for the Lombardi Trophy.