For the past two seasons, November and December have been good to Bill O'Brien and the Texans.
In his first season as Texans head coach, O'Brien's team finished 4-1 in the final five games. This year, Houston is heading into December on a four-game winning streak.
"In my experience, I'll just give you my opinion, I think the identity of your team- you have to know what your team is by Thanksgiving," O'Brien said. "Once you hit Thanksgiving, if you don't know what your team is then you are going to have a problem. But if you have an idea of what your team is, your players know what the team is, you as a coach know what the team is, then you have a chance to win."
Last year after Thanksgiving, the Texans defense was one of the best in the NFL. Houston led in third-down percentage (22.6), completion percentage (49.2), and didn't allow a single rushing touchdown.
This year Houston's defense is following a similar path, leading the league in several statistical categories. Not much has changed in the scheme since Week 1, according to defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, but communication has improved.
"No, the defense really hasn't changed," Crennel said. "We put the defenses in and some of the defenses that I called earlier in the year, I am calling later in the year. I think overall as a unit, we are executing better as a unit. Everybody understands where everybody is supposed to be, they trust that the guy next to him is going to do his job, so that allows me to do my job. That is what I think it is."
Since their 4-0 win streak began in Week 8, the Texans defense ranks first in the NFL in points allowed (8.8), total net yards allowed per game (250.5), and net passing yards allowed per game (180.5). In the same timeframe, the team is tied for third in the NFL in turnover margin (plus-5) with eight takeaways and just three turnovers.
The (6-5) Texans will travel to (5-6) Buffalo in Week 13. Kickoff is set for noon CT on CBS KHOU-11 and SportsRadio 610.
Check out some of the best action shots from Sunday's game against the Saints.