The Houston Texans travel to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the first place Titans this week. Wow, I bet Texans fans didn’t expect to read that statement six weeks in to the 2011 season.
The fact of the matter is the Texans had a brutal schedule to open the season, but not only that they had several injuries that slowed down their 3-1 start.
Mario Williams and James Casey were lost for the season with torn pectoral muscles, and Andre Johnson has missed the last two weeks due to a significant hamstring injury. He is expected to be out at least a couple more weeks.
You could argue that Williams and Johnson are the Texans’ best players on either side of the ball, and while the defense has actually played well in the absence of Williams, the offense clearly misses the best wide receiver in football.
Johnson’s absence brought attention to the fact that the Texans are not deep at wide receiver, which is probably the main reason they traded for Derrick Mason.
Mason, 38, had fallen out of favor with the Jets in just a few weeks, so when the Texans came calling it wasn’t hard to work out a deal.
Still, the offense has not been good and they will have to be this weekend.
The Texans were expected to walk away with this division when Peyton Manning went down, Jacksonville turned to Luke McCown, and the Titans were coming off a season in which they lost 8 of 9 down the stretch.
The Texans beefed up their defense in the offseason, had the league’s best wide receiver, the league’s rushing champion, and were getting a bunch of players back who missed last year.
It really did feel like their year. I’m not saying that is gone, but in order to get back that feeling they need to make a statement in Tennessee.
Losses to the Saints, Raiders, and Ravens don’t necessarily look bad, but a loss to the Titans and a 3-4 record will have fans calling for heads. Gary Kubiak has to get it done this weekend or be faced with a 1.5 game deficit in the division, and two behind the Titans in the loss column.
This weekend is about as must-win as it gets, and you’ll get a good look at the Texans’ character by the way they respond.