Houston Texans Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 11

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

The Houston Texans are 8-1 and in first place in the AFC South.

In Week 11, they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium.

The Texans rank 12th on offense, second on defense and seventh overall in DVOA.


Primary Talking Point for Week 11

Who's number one?

After a hard-fought victory over the Chicago Bears, the Texans have to feel like they've made a definitive case to be considered the best team in football.

It's almost too bad they'll play all their playoff games in domes, because you can make a strong argument that in bad weather the Texans would be virtually unstoppable.

The only weakness they have is with their passing offense, which looks increasingly average by the week.

Though they have yet to play the Patriots and it could be argued the Broncos will be better in January than they were when the Texans first faced them, it's difficult to imagine anyone from the AFC heading to New Orleans other than Houston.


Injury Outlook

As it has been for most of the year, the only thing that can derail the Texans' train is injuries.

Owen Daniels missed the Chicago game with a back injury.

Ben Tate has been sidelined with a hamstring.

Gary Kubiak addressed the health of both at his Monday press conference.

Let’s talk with (RB Ben) Tate and (TE) Owen (Daniels), I guess put them in the same category. I would think Owen is probably a little bit further along. I think they both have a chance of playing in this game. We’ll know more as we get to Wednesday and Thursday.

But remember, Tate has been running with the trainers so that’s a move in the right direction. He’s very close. Owen did work out before the game on Sunday. We made the decision to hold him. But the fact that he worked up to that point trying to play tells you how close he is. We get him back rested here and get some treatment, see where we’re at later on in the week.

He also expects Shaun Cody to play against Jacksonville in Week 11.


Player on the Rise

Kareem Jackson was on the bubble once.

He was thought of as too soft and a bad fit for the Texans' defense.

After another interception against the Bears, Jackson now has four on the year, double his career high. He's playing solid, physical coverage and has become a wonderful compliment to the more heralded Johnathan Joseph on the other side.

Teams targeting him are averaging just a 50 percent completion rate and a passer rating for 55.0 according to Pro Football Focus.

Last year, those numbers were 61.3 percent and a rating of 111.4.

If that doesn't qualify as on the rise, nothing does.


Feel-Good Stat of the Week

The Houston Texans get a pair of gems from the Football Outsiders this week. First, they became the first team of 2012 with a virtual 100 percent chance to make the playoffs.

They haven't actually clinched a spot yet, but a victory over the Jaguars would all but do it.

Part of what helps the Texans out is that their future strength of schedule is ranked 30th in the NFL.

In other words, get ready for more big wins in the final six weeks of play.


Troubling Stat of the Week

Matt Schaub's first four games of the season:

83-of-124 for 953 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. That's a 105.3 rating, 7.7 YPA and a completion percentage of 66.9.

Matt Schaub's last five games:

90-of-151 for 1060 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. That's an 80.4 rating, 7.0 YPA and a completion percentage of 59.6.


Overall Trend: Steady

It's hard to imagine the Texans getting any better than they were in Week 10. The win at Chicago was a career highlight for Kubiak and was the kind of game that players will remember long after their careers end.

This is it. The Texans are at the top of the pack. There's no more "up" to reach. At this stage, they'll continue fighting to improve incrementally week to week and to avoid complacency.

There are myths in the NFL about peaking early or getting hot at the right time.

None of them have meaning.

Houston has done everything it can do to be in the right position for January. Sure, they have to actually clinch the top seed, but no one is too concerned about that right now.

No one wants to play Houston, now or in two months.


All quotes courtesy of the Houston Texans via press release.


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