Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
The Houston Texans are one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL right now.
They start the season out great with a win against their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts in week 1.
Against the Washington Redskins, Matt Schaub led the Texans to an amazing fourth quarter comeback to become 2-0.
They lose to their Texas counterpart, the Dallas Cowboys in week three.
Arian Foster lifts the Texans past the Oakland Raiders in week four.
The New York Giants embarrassed the Texans in week five.
And in week six, the Chiefs looked like they were going to pull off the upset, only to have Houston come back late and take the victory.
Now, at 4-2, coming off the bye week, they will face the Colts once more.
But do they have what it takes to sweep Indianapolis in the division and truly be one of the top teams in the NFL?
After seven weeks of football, here is the report card for the Houston Texans.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub
Last season, the Texans had one of the top passing offenses in the league.
I like to think that was mainly due to a much weaker running game.
Now, the Texans have one of the top rushing attacks in the league with Arian Foster in the backfield.
And yet, Matt Schaub is still one of better passers in the quarterback averaging 239 yards a game through the air.
That's just outside the top ten in the league.
Add that to a couple of fourth quarter comebacks to prove leadership intangibles, and you've got yourself a good quarterback.
He is 6th in the league in completion percentage at 64 percent, has only thrown five interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 93.
The only thing I see keeping him from being one of the more elite quarterbacks in the league is touchdowns.
With only 9 TD passes, Schaub would look a lot better if he took more shots to the end zone.
Texans running back Arian Foster
The blooming of Arian Foster has been a huge commodity for the Houston Texans.
Only seven weeks into his first full season as the starter, Foster is already the best running back the Texans have ever had.
Add his downhill power running to the change of pace that Steve Slaton can give you, and you have a backfield full of weapons.
The Texans are fifth in rushing yards per game with 140, and their 5.2 average yards per carry is the best in the NFL.
They also lead the league in rushing touchdowns with nine.
Arian Foster is on pace for nearly 1,700 rushing yards this season and is easily one of the top running backs in the NFL right now.
Among all these numbers, the most impressive is only one fumble so far this season. Compared to last year, that's an amazing improvement.
The only hiccup I see here is the relationship between Arian Foster and coach Gary Kubiak.
Sometimes they don't exactly see eye to eye and Foster does something that Kubiak doesn't exactly appreciate, hence he we was benched for the first half against Oakland.
But I can't see that as a reason to give this rushing game anything less than an A.
Texans receiver Andre Johnson
Many expected this Houston Texans receiving core to be one of the best in the NFL this season.
They are definitely up there, but they are still not exactly your Colts or Saints where anybody lining up as a receiver can become a defensive headache.
Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but the rest of this receiving group is just above average.
Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones have both had big games and big moments where they stepped up and made big plays.
But they aren't always consistent, which forces a bit of doubt.
Several people, including myself, expected Owen Daniels to come back from his torn ACL injury and pick up where he left off as one of Matt Schaub's favorite targets, but his numbers are nothing like last season.
Again, this is definitely partially due to the success of the running game, but I still feel like they could be better.
Texans vs Colts
The biggest number that sticks out to me here is 16.
The Houston Texans offensive line has allowed 16 sacks this season in six games.
That's about 2.6 sacks a game.
Compare that to the Colts who have only allowed six sacks all season and you see the success of the quarterback relies on the amount of pressure he is under.
Obviously, they have been able to block rather sufficiently for the running game, but when they need the change of pace in the offense and go from run to pass, Matt Schaub needs to have protection.
Just like everything else in this world, success starts at the base.
In football, the line is the base.
Houston has had success blocking for Arian Foster, but they need to be able to create a better passing game as well.
The Texans already have a top 10 offense.
Give Matt Schaub some more protection and take some pressure off Matt Schaub and this Texans offense is the best in the NFL.
Texans defensive end Mario Williams
When you say the name Mario Williams, you think of one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.
Yes, Super Mario is pretty good.
He has half of his team's total sacks.
Unfortunately, that is only five.
Meaning the Texans only have 10 sacks this season which is good enough for 26th in the NFL.
Compared to the Tennessee Titans who have 25 sacks, I would say there is room for improvement there.
The Texans defensive line does have a positive side only allowing 104 rushing yards per game, but they need to have a pass rush as well in order to be successful.
The defense is the biggest weakness for the Houston Texans and with just a few tweaks here and there, they are complete.
Texans linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing
They get their stud Brian Cushing back from suspension, only to lose his equal counterpart, DeMeco Ryans, for the rest of the season.
Still, that's something they can't help and still makes the complete linebacker core a pretty darn good one.
The Texans are eighth in the league in total tackles with 467 so they are definitely capable of getting to the ball and bringing down the player with it.
So that's the upside.
The downside is only three forced fumbles, which is tied for last place and not many offensive players seem scared to run right through the middle of this defense.
Maybe when Ryans and Cushing are both on the field, the numbers will change.
In the mean time, they need help.
Texans defensive back Kareem Jackson
Boy oh Boy.
You know you're in trouble when Bruce Gradkowski and Matt Cassel are throwing all over you.
Nothing against Bruce or Matt, but they aren't exactly on the same level as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.
This secondary only has four interceptions this season.
Good enough to tie for 30th in the NFL.
The Texans defense is having big trouble with turnovers.
They aren't putting pressure on the quarterback. They aren't getting fumbles or interceptions. They can not stop the pass at all.
In fact, they allow they allow the most passing yards per game at 306 and the second most passing touchdowns allowed this season with 14.
The offense has shown they can put up points.
Imagine if the defense gave them more opportunities to score via turnovers.
Plain and simple, you don't worry about anything this off season except your defense, namely your secondary.
Texans kicker Neil Rackers
There haven't been any kicks or punts returned for a touchdown.
Steve Slaton averages about 20 yards per return which isn't great but isn't horrible either.
Matt Turk has punted 20 times this season with nine of those being inside the 20, which again isn't stellar. But it isn't outstanding either.
Everything appears average, right?
The addition of Neil Rackers has made all the difference for this Texans team.
I can't count the number of times where Kris Brown missed an important field goal last season.
He was 21 for 32 by the end of the season, which if you ask me, is unacceptable.
Perhaps this is more a grade for improvement, but Rackers is a reasonable seven for nine in field goals this season so far and has kicked the pain away for Texans fans in need of a kicker who can make it in the clutch.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
Out of all the coaches that did not make the playoffs last season, Gary Kubiak was one of the few that was no where near the hot seat.
He has done more for this Texans team than any other previous head coach.
He went out and got Matt Schaub, drafted DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing, and turned an undrafted free agent into one of the top running backs in the NFL.
There is definitely still work to be done, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but Kubiak has this team on the right track for the first time in its existence.
If he can improve the defense and slightly tweak a few things on the offense just right, he will have his team as a favorite to not only win the AFC South, but to win the Super Bowl for many years to come.