It’s Houston Texans at the Detroit Lions at 11:30 a.m.. m. Thanksgiving Tilt and our Anthony R. . Wood of SI Texans Daily shares some thoughts with Lions SI officer John Maakaron about the « pulse » and « forecast » for today . . .
1. ) What’s the pulse of the Houston Texans after their 27-20 win over the New England Patriots?
Anthony R.. . Wood: If nothing else, it was a release. The tension around the franchise was particularly noticeable this season in the last few weeks. And for the team it was both unexpected and a very welcome surprise to have made such significant improvements from one week to the next.
Expectations remain low. But when Deshaun Watson was at his best, run defense took things up and some of the team’s stars on either side of the ball took up a step, which was a great change.
Wood: Its greatest strength is its greatest asset: Watson. The offense begins and ends with him.
Ex-Texan head coach Bill O’Brien put this offense together to show his strengths when he plays in a fast, RPO-heavy and deep-ball-heavy scheme. Throw in the fact that Watson has been by far the most consistent and prolific player this season. thus he is irreplaceable. He has played arguably the best football of his career this season, throwing only five interceptions and taking fewer unnecessary bags. And last week we saw what he’s capable of.
If the offensive line can hold him up – as it did against New England – and Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Jordan Akins stay healthy, Deshaun should thrive.
It is difficult to pinpoint an area in relation to their greatest weakness. Before last week’s game, you would have said the Houston running defense, which was appalling this season. But it has shown that it is capable of keeping teams under 100 yards when playing aggressively – something that has been missing at times this year.
So it has to be Texan secondary school. When it comes to safety, Justin Reid keeps returning to the form Texans fans know he is capable of, while pro Lonnie Johnson is still adjusting in his sophomore year after moving from corner to safety this year. Defense attorney Eric Murray looks like a free agency miscalculation that cost the team $ 18 million over three years.
Now move to the corner where the biggest problems are. Bradley Roby had a decent year, but apart from him, it was a mess. Vernon Hargreaves showed lightning, but consistency wasn’t his friend. Phillip Gaines was in charge of New England’s only TD pass last week and has done little all season to show he deserves to be on that roster. And rookie John Reid looks promising but doesn’t see enough playtime to make a big impact.
3. ) In his fourth season, Deshaun Watson plays the best football of his career. How has he improved over the past couple of seasons?
Wood: As mentioned earlier, his decision-making has improved dramatically. His trust has been both a strength and a weakness in the past. Especially when he has played behind a weak offensive line in recent years, he has tried to make a game where there was simply no game and unnecessarily took a sack.
This has not been a problem this year, although the line has taken a step back from last year (with the exception of last week). .
Watson has also reduced interceptions. Currently he has taken five a year and none since week five. In fact, he’s currently well on his way to a career year in terms of mileage, touchdowns and interceptions. And it looks like he’s got a 68. 9 percent graduation rate – also a career high.
He just doesn’t get the praise he deserves, partly because the team has a loss record and also because the team never got much airtime regardless.
4. ) Everyone is still scratching their heads over the pre-season deal Houston made with the Arizona Cardinals with DeAndre Hopkins. Why did Bill O’Brien deal with Hopkins and how much has that hurt the franchise going forward?
Wood: The logic behind the move, according to the team, was that Hopkins supposedly wanted a new deal that Texans couldn’t afford given the other new deals they had / hadn’t made. Whether or not that was the only reason we can only speculate and may never really know.
The optimists among us saw this as an opportunity for the Texans to achieve their clear No.. 1 Aim and create a sense of unpredictability in this offense.
With Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee and Isaiah Coulter at the receiver, we had a deep group that was able to play both below and deeply. Throw in a solid group of bottlenecks, two double-threat running backs and a quarterback who can run, and that « spread-the-love » approach looked like a solid idea. So far this has not fully worked. There were weeks like last when Watson could use his arm effectively, with three receivers reaching more than 80 meters.
The running game, however, was non-existent for several reasons, and first year play-caller Tim Kelly struggled to find a sense of rhythm on his offense. The team has withheld its insistence on building the run on many occasions – this was also not the case last week for the first time this year.
Looking ahead, this move will sting for some time. Had the Texans been able to get a first-class classic from the trade, the damage could have been limited. As we now know, of course, this was not the case.
Trying to replace Hopkins with a group approach is tough, especially with Fuller and Stills’ contracts expiring after this season. If you sign Cobbs and David Johnson, the new management will be busy as you try to make way for newcomers this off-season.
Wood: Predicting Texan’s games this year has been difficult from day one. They haven’t won two games in a row, so they couldn’t find the right rhythm from week to week. If there was ever a time for it, it is now.
They did their best performance of the season and are back on the field just a few days later. If they can pick up where they left off last week, especially given the injuries at Detroit’s corners, Houston could win this game. Also, keep in mind that Texans have only played a Thanksgiving game once – in 2012 when they defeated the Lions at Ford Field.
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