The Houston Texans (6-3, 1st AFC South) took care of business at home against the Detroit Lions (5-4, 1st NFC North) two weeks ago, on the road last weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7, 4th AFC South)and now will head across the border to take on the Oakland Raiders (7-2, 2nd AFC West) on Monday Night Football next week.
“We’re excited about that,” head coach Bill O’Brien said Monday. “I know that (team owner) Mr. McNair and the NFL feel strongly about international play. It’s a pretty short trip for us. We know we’re going to have a lot of fans down there, which is great for our team and our organization.”
The Texans were on the road against the Jaguars last weekend and collected their first road win of the season. For the ailing Jaguars, they have yet to win at home.
“We have to play the game the way we see it playing out,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “We don’t worry about stats. I think everyone needs to understand that in the National Football League it’s all about winning. It’s about winning. Whatever it takes to win that is what we try to do. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but six times this year it has worked out and three times it hasn’t. Hopefully, we can be on the positive side of the ledger.”
The Texans will now set their sites on the 7-2 Oakland Raiders in Mexico City.
“I think they’re playing as one of the best teams in the league,” O’Brien said. “I think that they’re very athletic. I think offensively just watching a lot of their film here over the last couple days, big, big offensive line. Downhill running attack. Derek Carr is playing very, very well.”
The Houston Texans are still in command of the AFC South and the Raiders in command of the AFC West but these are two very different teams.
While the Lions are enjoying their rise in the NFL and enjoying the wins, the Texans are taking their wins very hard and most of the blame falls at the hands of QB Brock Osweiler. Osweiler, who 156 of 268 (58.2%) is currently the 20th ranked quarterback in the league and coming off a 27-9 thrashing at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
Still, the Texans and especially Osweiler have a lot to prove especially that the $72 million contract was money well spent (even at 5.2 yards per pass possession) and Bill O’Brien has no intention of switching quarterbacks at this point.
“He’s a good player,” O’Brien said. “I think it’s very difficult to come into a new system and a new team and just pick it up right away. I think everybody has to do a better job.”
“I think he can play better,” said O’Brien. “I know that the receivers can run routes better. We continue to work and we continue to go down the same inconsistent road, but eventually we have to find consistency or we’re not going to be where we want to be.”
But not all the blame goes on Osweiler and the offense. With the loss of JJ Watt, the run defense has sunk to 29th place in the league after Denver ran up 192 rushing yards on them.
“Yeah, it’s not very good,” O’Brien said of his team’s run defense. “We gave up 190 yards rushing (against the Broncos). I think we all have to do a better job. We’ve got to coach it better. We’ve got to get off blocks better. We’ve got to tackle better.”
“We’re going to have to really study hard here on Detroit and figure out what we need to do to stop the run, because it has to get a lot better,” O’Brien said.