Many think the Texans defense in 2017 will be as good as any we've seen in the game for a while, especially with J.J. Watt and Kevin Johnson returning to the lineup. There isn't much that this defense hasn't seen and, as a result, it was at its peak in the playoffs, pushing the soon-to-be World Champion Patriots to the brink in the AFC Divisional playoff round. Yet, as it happens every single season, Mike Vrabel's defense will get tested by a group of fantastic offensive players. What if they teamed up as one ultimate unit? I love to think about stuff like that so here's the Ultimate 11 offense on the Texans 2017 schedule.
QB - Tom Brady, Patriots - Is there are any question that the GOAT would be atop this list? Of course not. The Texans return to Foxboro for the third time in two years (and oh by the way will do so in 2018 as well) and that means facing Brady...again. Even though Brady is, well, Brady, he narrowly edges out Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) for this spot.
RB - Le'Veon Bell, Steelers - This was a real tough group to pick from, considering the fact that David Johnson (Cardinals), DeMarco Murray (Titans) and Todd Gurley (Rams) are all on the schedule. But, Bell, in that Steelers offense, is just a tad superior to that trio of backs at this point
OW - Tyreek Hill, Chiefs - Hill doesn't really have a position, but the Chiefs love to get him the ball in a variety of ways and he scares me every time he has it.
WR - Antonio Brown, Steelers - The NFL players voted him the fourth best player in the NFL and most defensive backs would/could argue that was three spots too low. He had nine catches for 90 yards the last time he faced the Texans in 2014.
WR - A.J. Green, Bengals - The Texans held him in check in 2015, the last time they played Green in that memorable 2015 game on Monday night. Yet, Green can flip the game with just one deep ball downfield, as he's one of the best downfield receivers in this league. This was close between Green and 'The Ghost' T.Y. Hilton (Colts).
TE - Rob Gronkowski, Patriots - The Texans have been lucky in some sense because Gronk hasn't been healthy the past three times the Patriots have lined up against the Texans. In 2015, at NRG Stadium, though, he only played 25 percent of the plays and he still made at least three game-changing plays. He takes this spot by a hair over Travis Kelce (Chiefs).
C - Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers - Steady and dominant throughout his career, Pouncey is on a Hall of Fame track.
LG - Marshal Yanda, Ravens - He's the best guard in the game not named Zack Martin (Cowboys - brother of Texans center Nick Martin).
RG - David DeCastro, Steelers - I was a huge DeCastro fan when he was at Stanford and even though he struggled at the outset of his career a bit, he's now a Pro Bowler for Pittsburgh.
LT - Joe Thomas, Browns - He's a future Hall of Famer, like first ballot style.
RT - Jack Conklin, Titans - I truly think he is, and will continue to be, a better all-around tackle than his teammate left tackle Taylor Lewan.
That's a pretty salty 11 to say the least.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 2/24/2021)