If you’re wondering if the Texans would ‘take the Jets lightly’ or if this was a ‘trap game,’ let me remind you that it’s week 15. There are three games left and only six teams have been eliminated from playoff contention going into the weekend.
This is one of the things that makes the NFL great. A little over 1/3 of the league gets into the post season. Yet so many spots stay open down to the wire.
One of the teams that happens to be eliminated is this week’s opponent. Yet they played their guts out in a win at Buffalo last weekend in come-from-behind fashion. Buffalo plays defense almost as well as anyone in the NFL and the Jets made some key offensive plays down the stretch.
I point this out to create a written hypothetical dramatization of Bill O’Brien showing his team every clutch Jets play from the season. New York has known that this isn’t a likely playoff team for a while. So they are in a one-week-at-a-time mode in which every game is like a bowl.
Bull's Eye: Best shots from Week 14
Check out the best Week 14 images from Texans team photographer Zach Tarrant. Presented by Houston Methodist.
This Saturday will be no different as there is nothing the Gotham Green would like more than to make the Texans leave the metropolitan area miserable.
You want examples of the teams playing well despite being out of it? How about the Jets’ neighbors, the Giants, who will host the Titans in the same building 24 hours later? They are finding a rhythm and, by the way, you’ll be rooting for them to help crush the dreams of Tennessee on Sunday.
Here are some examples of the Texans themselves dousing opponent’s post season bids in years past - 2004 at Jacksonville, week 16, the Texans blanked the Jags to keep them home for January. In 2008, the Bears visited NRG Stadium on the final day of the season and Houston ended their playoff hopes. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
The big thing about this game will be to protect Deshaun Watson and get the ground game rolling again. Lost in rubble of Sunday’s loss to the Colts was that the Texans started to move the line of scrimmage better in the second half. They outscored the Colts 14-7 but ultimately couldn’t get over the hump.
They need to a bounce back game stat! And they’ll get the opportunity in a place where great performers yearn to shine. The curtain rises at 3:30 pm Saturday.