The Houston Texans franchise has never made it past the Divisional Round in the NFL Playoffs. Houston is 0-3 all time in round two of the playoffs. Is 2017 finally the year that Houston can advance to the AFC Championship game?
Since head coach Bill O’Brien arrived in Houston, the Texans have taken exactly one step forward each season. In 2014 the Texans finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. During the 2015 season the Texans again finished 9-7, winning the AFC South Division. Unfortunately Houston was on the wrong end of 30-0 blowout handed out by the Chiefs. After a third 9-7 finish and a second straight playoff berth in 2016, Houston won a playoff game. The Texans won the battle of bad quarterbacks against the Raiders before suffering a heart wrenching defeat to the New England Patriots.
There appears to be a trend forming here. Houston has advanced one step further each season. The logical next step in this pattern is an AFC Championship Game appearance. However pattern’s are not always true to form.
The Texans season will rely on their strong defense. The defense has been the calling card of Houston for years now and it will continue to be this season. As long as Houston features J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, Brian Cushing, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph, the defense will be the strength of the team.
The X-Factor for Houston, like most teams, is the quarterback position. The poor play of Brock Osweiler cost Houston their shot at the AFC Championship Game. Osweiler’s three interceptions essentially took their season and flushed it down the toilet. The three interception disaster sealed Osweiler’s fate in Houston as he was sent off to Cleveland with a second round drat pick just to get rid of him.
The defense is going to hold up in Houston, there is no doubt about it. The slightest bit of competence from the quarterback position can catapult Houston to unforeseen heights as a result. Super Bowl is a stretch, but an AFC title game appearance is a step in the right direction. A step that is very likely for Houston in the 2017 season.