The only one-loss team in the AFC, they also happen to hold the tiebreaker over the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens. Every other legitimate contender in the conference has at least three strikes in the “L” column.
Things are going so well, the organization could put it on cruise control and coast home with the top record and home-field advantage. But with over half the season left to play, it is too early to assume everything will go according to plan.
That being said, the assumption of continued health for key personnel is a given. The loss of Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, J. J. Watt or Johnathan Joseph would be more than “Next Man Up” sloganeering could overcome.
The same holds true for improvements on special teams. They may not account for one-third of the game as many old-school coaches claim. But on this team, they have accounted for about two-thirds of the headaches that have marred this otherwise efficient operation.
Without access to the strategies being concocted behind closed doors, the actual plan can only be surmised. It should include some of the following elements if it is going to succeed.