We conclude our 2018 “Questions with the Enemy” series by bringing back Brett Kollmann of Battle Red Blog to talk to us about Houston’s chances to make a run in the playoffs, the AFC South, Aaron Colvin and more. Check it out below.
1. Despite a loss last week, the Houston Texans have clinched a playoff berth. What are your expectations for the Texans in the playoffs and do you believe this team can make a run?
Brett: It entirely depends on whether or not the Colts make the postseason. I’ve seen enough of Andrew Luck in Houston to know that if he has to come to NRG Stadium for the Wildcard round, there would be a much, MUCH lower chance of a Houston win than if Tennessee filled that seed. He and T.Y. Hilton are the stuff of nightmares for Texans fans (kind of like the Titans run game is the stuff of nightmares for Jags fans). If the Texans win this weekend and the Patriots somehow lose so we can get back into the second seed (and so that Indy has to go to New England), that’s pretty much the only way I’ll feel safe from the Colts this January.
Under no circumstances should that neck-bearded f*** be let into the playoffs. He’ll ruin us all.
2. How has this team stacked up to your expectations in the beginning of the season: surpassed, right on par or fared a little bit worse than expected? Can you give a brief summary of Houston’s 2018 season?
Brett: They are basically right at the overall record that I expected of them at the beginning of the year, though obviously they have been much streakier as a team. They’ve lost some games they should have won and won some games they should have lost. Overall, it’s still a very good team, but there are a few glaring holes that might prevent them from winning the whole thing — cornerback depth, offensive line depth, and receiver depth with so many injuries being the main problems. Deshaun (Watson) is a good enough quarterback that they always have a chance, of course, but I still realistically think that they are one great offseason away from being real contenders against Indy, Kansas City and New England.
3. Last time we spoke, the Texans’ offensive line was in shambles. Has Houston been able to fix the issues in the trenches and keep Deshaun Watson upright, or are you expecting an underperforming, but still very talented, Jacksonville defensive line to feast on Sunday?
Brett: The line has definitely played better since the beginning of the year (it’s certainly hard to be worse, at least), and that is for a variety of factors. Deshaun has done a better job at getting rid of the ball quicker (note, he’s still not great at it, but it’s better), the line has vastly improved their communication and timing when passing off stunts, and of course Deshaun himself getting healthier has improved his mobility and escapability as the season has gone on. By no means would I call the line “good” yet, but they might not be an unmitigated dumpster fire anymore, either. I would still give the overall advantage to Jacksonville in the trenches, just on talent alone, though.
4. Looking at the AFC South division, the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts are both in the hunt at 9-6, and play each other this week for the playoff spot. Which team do you think wins and why?
Brett: The Colts. Andrew Luck is having the best year of his career in my opinion, and now he also has a run game and a good defense to go with it. They are the most dangerous team in the AFC South because of that balance (which the Titans do not have because they are inconsistent on offense), and to be honest I think teams should be more scared of them than the Texans. I want ZERO part of that team in the Wildcard round. NONE.
5. What are your thoughts on former Jaguar, Aaron Colvin in his first year in Houston? Would you say it was a successful free agent signing, or did he disappoint?
Brett: I think Colvin is tough to grade at the moment because he hasn’t exactly been fully healthy through pretty much the entire season, but just objectively on tape...no he has not played as well as he did in Jacksonville. Whether that is because of his injuries or not, we aren’t sure yet, but I still feel good about him going into 2019. He was too good with the Jags to just suddenly be a bad football player — that doesn’t just happen for no reason...most of the time. We’ll see what he looks like next season when he has time to recover and come back strong, I suppose.
Thank you to Brett for offering his thoughts and analysis not once, but twice this season. We hope you enjoyed our weekly Q&As this season. Go Jags!