This weekend we take a deep breath. Seven games remain in the regular season, four of them at home. It's time to take stock of the situation and get ready for a compelling stretch run.
The Texans are in a good spot at 6-3 heading into the bye. They've set themselves up for some really exciting scenarios if they take care of business in the coming weeks. They'll be the first to tell you it's all about the next game, and that's at Baltimore.
Being 6-3 is not new to Bill O'Brien. His squad was 6-3 last year, finishing 11-5. In 2016, the Texans were 6-3 after beating, of all teams, Jacksonville, eventually winning the AFC South.
Prior to the O'Brien years, Houston was 6-3 in 2011, on the way to its first division crown. The best start in Texans history after nine games was 8-1 in 2012.
A good start is important. But a good finish is critical. O'Brien has often said that you don't truly know what type of team you have until around Thanksgiving. Well, before we carve turkey, the Texans will take on the Ravens and then host the Colts.
I would say that those two results will be great indicators of where this team is headed. But there are five games after that. And no matter who is on the schedule, each one represents a seismic push in one direction or another. Sure, certain opponents put a brighter shine on the national marquee but every game is huge and the divisional games are even bigger.
The Texans are a top five rushing team and third against the run. They have a top five rated QB and a receiver who is second in catches. Plus, they are coming off their best overall performance of the year.
The bye week gives this team a chance to heal and recharge. Then they can get back into what O'Brien calls "the rhythm of the season." They'll hit the ground running on Monday to try and keep the momentum going.