We have endured the grueling agony of six months without football. Finally, the 2017 season is here. The city of Houston has endured much more than a lack of football. At one point, it was unclear whether or not the Texans would even still play their first game at home due to the flooding of Hurricane Harvey. The game will still be held at NRG Stadium however, and the energy should be electric. Here are the week one Houston Texans keys to victory.
Week One Houston Texans Keys to Victory
1.) Establish the Run
Tom Savage may not be a rookie quarterback, but he’s not exactly a veteran either. This will be Savage’s first season coming in as the starting quarterback. He looked impressive in his reps during the preseason and he’s looked impressive the last couple of seasons stepping in as a backup. Still, this will be Savage’s first full season as a starter (if he stays healthy) and he’s going to need some help.
Starting left tackle Duane Brown is still in a contract holdout and won’t be playing in week one, at least. That leaves an unproven starter protecting Savage’s blindside which is far from an ideal situation. Savage will also be without receivers Will Fuller and Jaelen Strong so the Jacksonville Jaguars will likely double team Deandre Hopkins.
This offense is going to need to establish the run game early. Lamar Miller rushed for 1,073 yards last season, averaging four yards per carry. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off, or improve on it. D’Onta Foreman also showed signs of explosiveness during the preseason. Foreman rushed for 93 yards and a score during the preseason averaging almost six yards per carry. If he can bring that production into the regular season, the Texans have a nice looking pair of running backs.
2.) Bring the Heat
The prodigal son has returned to the Texans this season. After dealing with injury the last two seasons, missing almost all of 2016, J.J. Watt is returning in 2017. Watt finished with 17.5 sacks in 2015 and played most of that season with injuries. If Watt can come back healthy this season, there’s no reason not to expect similar numbers. The defense managed to get 32 sacks last season without their star defensive end. The return of Watt should take some pressure off of Jadeveon Clowney.
The Texans need to bring the pressure to the Jaguars early and often. Jacksonville will likely try to establish the run with their new weapon Leonard Fournette. Fournette looked good during preseason and could be a serious threat to this Texans defense. If the defense can contain the run and bring pressure to Blake Bortles, they should be able to stop this offense (and maybe get some turnovers!)
3.) Win the Turnover Battle
Last season, the defense only managed to get 17 turnovers all season. The offense, however, gave up 24 turnovers. Brock Osweiler threw 16 interceptions alone. The offense is going to have to do a better job protecting the football this season and it starts in week one. Jacksonville has a great looking defense and added some big names in free agency.
The offense is going to need to focus on covering the ball and Savage is going to need to avoid throwing picks. If the defense can rattle Bortles and maybe even catch Fournette off guard a time or two, they should be able to come away with some turnovers. When two big defenses like this come together, it usually comes down to who wins the turnover battle.