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Are the Houston Texans Merely Champions of a Soft Schedule?

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 14:  J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans sacks  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Thomas GaliciaContributor IIJanuary 8, 2017

Despite coming into the game at 5-0, you figured there would be a point in the season where the Houston Texans would wind up on the losing end of the scoreboard.

That it was against the Green Bay Packers shouldn't have been too much of a surprise, as the Packers had their backs up against the wall going into the contest.

That the first loss would be as terrible as it was shocked everyone.

What's especially troubling is the fact that Aaron Rodgers was only sacked twice, but not surprisingly, both sacks were courtesy of J.J. Watt. The low number of sacks is a surprise because the Packers have allowed 23 so far this season, while the Texans have recorded 17.

Seeing Houston get embarrassed on national television like this was shocking for many, but then one takes a look back at its schedule and you will see that the Packers are the toughest team Houston has played.

The Texans' first five games saw them play such powerhouse teams as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, two of the worst teams in the NFL. With both teams residing in Houston's division, they will meet the Texans again, with the Jaguars making the trip to Houston on November 18th.

But while you might look at the Texans' early schedule and see two creampuffs, those also happen to be the only creampuffs on the schedule.

The Texans started off the season against the Miami Dolphins, and fully dominated them. Right now, Miami stands at 3-3 and is in a four-way tie for first place in the AFC East. There is a decent possibility that Miami might find itself in the playoffs this season, and you could say the same about the New York Jets, who the Texans played in Week 5.

While Houston didn't dominate the Jets in the same way it dominated Miami, it did leave the Meadowlands with the victory—a victory that looks stronger when you consider that just six days after that, the Jets ran all over Houston's AFC South rivals, Indianapolis, for a total of 252 yards.

Houston held that same Jets run offense to only 69 yards rushing.

The Texans also went on the road to defeat the Denver Broncos. Denver is always a tough place to play for any team, but the Texans didn't just beat the Broncos. They dominated despite the score looking much closer than the game really was.

So while two of Houston's victories came to cupcakes within its division, its other three wins are very legitimate. There is the possibility that all three of those teams will be playoff teams.

Losing to Green Bay was a setback, but just a slight one.

Houston has dominated every other team it has played all season long, whether they were good or bad. This team is still in good shape, and still the best team in the AFC.

 

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