During the bye is a great time to reflect on where the team is and where it might go. We all know the Texans are 5-0 at home and have yet to get the job done on the road. But this is the best situation Bill O'Brien has had with the Texans to this point of the season.
Among the AFC division leaders, the Texans have had the toughest schedule as their opponents are a combined 10 games over .500. Pittsburgh is next followed by Denver and New England. The Broncos and Patriots have played a schedule with opponents' total record well below .500. The Texans have the best record of all the teams the Patriots have defeated.
What does that all mean? Not much. Because it's all about what happens from here. All three Texans head coaches I have worked with told me similar things about the second half. Basically this is where you make your run or start getting ready for the next campaign.
It's a boost to be at 5-3 because it gives Houston a tiny cushion in the division. But let's not get carried away with records. You could say that it's a plus that the Texans play only two teams in the next two months who are currently over .500. Yet it hardly means you're a lock to win at Indy, beat a never-say-die San Diego team at home or even complete a sweep at Tennessee on New Year's Day.
The departure of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator of the Vikings should serve as a big reminder of how fast things can change. The Texans were overwhelmed at Minnesota. It was almost a condensed version of the Atlanta game last season. Yet the Vikings are suddenly mortal with two consecutive losses. The second half version of the Texans in 2015 was unrecognizable compared to the way they looked in Miami and Atlanta. Breaking news: the NFL is unpredictable.
Houston has yet to put together the kind of streak they had last season when they won four straight on their way to a 7-2 finish. O'Brien knows that his young, developing offense has to gel if we wants to construct a winning streak. And he also knows the defense, as well as it has done in the absence of J.J. Watt, has to start forcing more turnovers to help the cause.
The fact that O'Brien's teams are 11-5 after the midway point shows that the staff and squad made adjustments and found a way to be at their best during the money half of the season. Here's hoping the trend continues.
Check out the best fan photos from the first half of the season!