People have asked me to rate a couple of things this week. Like, where this game stacks up on the ‘biggest games in franchise history list.”
Another question I got thrown my way was how this team compares to the 2011 and 2012 squads.
Let’s take the second one first. My stock answer is that we need to wait to see how it plays out. With two weeks to go in the regular season, both those squads had great opportunities they failed to capitalize on. Now, this team has its regular season moment of truth.
I love the upside of this squad. But without any of the big goals accomplished, and with so many possibilities on the table, you need to stay in your seat and see how the movie ends.
As far as the magnitude of this game goes, it’s huge. Of course, people often forget that Bill O’Brien has been here before. Three years ago, the Texans had to beat Indy on the road, for the first time, to make a run at the post season. They did.
Two years ago, they had to do it again, to break a three-game losing streak and have a chance at the division crown. They did it again. There’s some relevant recent history of success here.
Yes, this is tougher. The stakes are even higher.
You’re facing the defending Super Bowl champions. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like this might be a play-out-the-string game for them (which would still give me heart palpitations). Now it’s a game to keep them alive and build momentum off last week’s upset of the Rams.
The ‘Linc’ will be rocking and the Texans will get everything the Eagles can throw at them for 60 minutes of football fury.
The Texans could be a lot healthier. And so could the Eagles. It’s Christmas. No team is 100% and whoever puts together the best executed game plan will come out on top.
There are some things the Texans need to continue and things they need elevate if they are going to pull this out.
They are second best in the NFL in drive start and defensive drive start. This is due to outstanding ball security and dramatically improved special teams. DeAndre Carter needs a good performance against his former team. He still owns the longest punt return for the Eagles this season.
Somehow, the Texans have to get their running game back. By the time they hit the field, it will have been three weeks since it operated the way they want it to. Injuries and any other issues aside, this has to improve or it will be a very tough day keeping Deshaun Watson protected.
Speaking of the quarterback, this is what he signed up for. He loves the big moment. He also knows the talented Philly front is coming after him. And the crowd that once booed Santa Claus is out to make it an unpleasant afternoon.
These are the games you dream about, deep in December, in a hostile environment, with so much on the line.
We’ll talk to you from the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’
Check out the best Week 15 images from Texans team photographer Zach Tarrant. Presented by Houston Methodist.