New York planes come to town to battle with the Houston Texans
Only for the second time this season have the Houston Texans warmed up for a post-twilight game to win, and for the second time this season, this Sunday, they’ll get a chance to build an actual winning streak. Consecutive multiplayer games victorious emerging! Wonderful! Dare to dream, kids!
Unlike the first crack in a winning streak, back in Week 2, when the Texans were twice underdogs in Cleveland, this stab in a winning streak made the Texans a favorite, by 2.5 points as of this writing, over the New York Jets. This week’s 12th game on Sunday will also be on the comfortable, somewhat sparsely populated frontier at NRG Stadium, which should also make things less difficult than beating Brown on the road.
It’s a 2-8 battle between two teams, so let’s face it, this game will have more impact on the top of the NFL draft standings than the playoffs chase, but both teams are hungry for more wins. Here are the top storylines you need to know for early afternoon Sunday that will wrap up Thanksgiving weekend here in Houston:
4. QB planes chaos
The Jets will have their talented debutante, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, as Zach Wilson returns to the center for the first time since Week Six. The situation is that the two main backups, Mike White and veteran Joe Flacco, are both on COVID protocols due to White’s positive test and Flacco in close contact. Josh Johnson, who played for about half of the teams in the league, including the Texans, was called up from the coaching squad. I’m not saying the Texans have to play dirty, but if they can get to Wilson and do it with extra zeal, and get them out of the game, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
3. Healthy Bodies on the Edge
Now, to get to Wilson, the Texans will need to keep applying pressure as they did against the Titans last week, and the Dolphins the week before. Hopefully their lead entertainer, Jonathan Grinard (7 bags), is back active again this week after missing Week 11 with a foot injury. Jordan Jenkins, a former jet-setter, wouldn’t get a shot at his former teammates, as he picked up a knee injury against Tennessee. So the Texans are working with a numbers problem at the defensive end, which could mean Luffy Smith required more of those lightning-packs he used against Ryan Tanehill. Expect a novice Wilson to see some new wrinkles that Luffy Smith didn’t put in the movie, perhaps.
2. Texas running behind the room
The only big news item from Texas this week was the release of Philip Lindsay. I think I’ll sum up the ten games of Lindsay’s career in Texas by saying that he sounds like a great guy. That’s about it, there’s not much more to say. You can count the number of 50 Lindsay carts that are over five yards on one hand. 31 of his 50 loads went for less than two yards, and nine of them went for negative space. David Johnson hasn’t been better, but he still is. Expect to see Royce Freeman get his first act as a Texan this weekend, and expect Rex Burhead to continue with a greater workload than any of us expected Rex Burhead to get before the season begins.
1. Metamorphoses, rotation
There are two lines Texas would like to keep alive. First and foremost, they obviously want to move their winning streak into two games. Extending the second streak will be more difficult, but it goes hand in hand with winning — over the course of the last two games, the Texans have forced five turnovers per game. I don’t know they’re going to get five against the Jets, but if there’s a quarterback who could turn Luffy Smith’s defense into another five days, it’s Wilson, who has thrown nine interceptions in six games, and has a four pick. In his resume already this season.
Spread: Texas -2.5
Prediction: Texans 24, Jets 16
Seasonal record: 9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., seven days a week. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast And the same on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.