About That Texans Defense.
Texans Defense: Those that watched some of the less than stellar NFL games last weekend may recall John Gruden consistently raving about the “#1 ranked Houston Texans defense”. What was he talking about specifically? Is what he kept saying true? Let’s take a gander at this Texans defense to see where they stack up and how that might impact play Saturday night at the Razah.
In total yards per game given up the Texans defense did indeed rank #1 in the NFL in 2016. However, of the top five in the NFL in this category, three of those teams did NOT make the playoffs (Broncos, Cardinals, Vikings). We are not saying yards/game surrendered is irrelevant because it does have some meaning. We are saying that yards/game is merely one stat that provides a general overview that can be misleading. Two of the biggest factors are the quality and types of offenses faced and the pace of play and accumulation or lack of junk yardage being piled up by teams down two scores or more.
Here are a few more defensive stats and where the Houston Texans ranked this season:
Scoring – 11th
Sacks – 24th
Passes Defensed – 23rd
Opponent Scoring Efficiency – 7th
Interceptions – 22nd
Opponent Completion Percentage – 9th
Yards After Catch Allowed – 3rd
Team Opponent 3rd Down Efficiency – 11th
Team Yards Against Per Play – 6th
Looking at these more specific stats it’s quite clear the Texans are not a bad defense at all and in fact are above average. They have a defense half the league would probably love to have right now, but that does not align with the much ballyhooed “#1 Defense” we keep hearing about.
The Texans don’t get a lot of sacks (Clowney’s recent surge notwithstanding) nor do they pick off many passes. Tom Brady gets rid of the ball quickly and rarely throws a pick. The Texans do a great job limiting yards after the catch and average yards/play gained so those are credible factors the Patriots will encounter on Saturday.
There is also the issue of the Patriot offense in terms of talent, coaching, and health being vastly superior to anything the Texans faced this season. The Houston Texans defense had a very solid season to date but they are unlikely to see the type of play they saw last week with a rookie QB thrown into the fire, missed assignments, several dropped passes, and an overall lack of emotion and motivation. Let’s see how they do at Gillette facing Brady and his crew.
Enjoy the game!