Houston Texans Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 7

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistOctober 17, 2012

Casey has been valuable in the passing game.
Casey has been valuable in the passing game.Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are 5-1 on the 2012 season and in first place in the AFC South.

In Week 7, Houston takes on the Baltimore Ravens at Reliant Stadium.

They rank ninth in offense, fourth in defense and ninth overall in DVOA.


Primary Talking Point for Week 7

Regroup and recover are the key words for the Texans after their embarrassing loss to the Packers in Week 6.

The Texans can't dwell on their first setback of the year, and instead will focus all their attention on beating the banged-up Ravens.

A win would essentially give Houston a functional two-game lead over the rest of the AFC in the race for the top overall seed.

The question is whether the Texans merely lost a tough game to an all-time great, or if in failing their first significant test of 2012, they were exposed as a paper tiger.

A win over the Ravens would silence their critics and reignite their march to the postseason.


Injury Outlook

Tim Jamison was placed on Injured Reserve with an Achilles injury.

Johnathan Joseph is likely to be limited in practice with a nagging groin injury that is limiting his productivity. This is the biggest injury to watch, because with Joseph slowed, it exposes serious issues in the secondary for the Texans.

Safety Quintin Demps could return from a broken arm this week.

Guard Antoine Caldwell suffered a concussion and will be evaluated.


Player on the Rise

James Casey has become a major part of the Texans' offense in recent weeks.

On the year, he's catching 86 percent of passes thrown his way.  He's already tied his career high in catches and touchdowns, and has been a steady contributor in each of the last three games for Houston.

With the receiving corp a serious problem, Matt Schaub has to find other targets in the passing game. Casey isn't on the field much more than half the snaps for the Texans, but has found a way to be a plus when he is.


Feel-Good Stat of the Week

Nothing feels better after a bad loss than to go check out the standings to see that you still have a two-game lead in your division.

The playoff odds for the Texans stand a whopping 98.9 percent, with a 97.4 percent chance they win the AFC South.

As it stands, the Texans still have a 67.9 percent chance of landing a first-round bye and are at nearly 30 percent to make the Super Bowl.

Yes, they are just odds and probabilities, but when a team is considered the most likely candidate in the NFL to make the Super Bowl, it has to make a fanbase feel good.


Troubling Stat of the Week

J.J. Watt leads the NFL with 9.5 sacks.

All other Texans combined total 7.5.

Overall, the Texans are only slightly off last year's adjusted sack rate pace, but other than Watt, the rest of the defense is failing to generate any discernible rush.

Of the 7.5 sacks the Texans have collected apart from Watt, 1.5 came from defensive backs on blitzes, and another was by Jamison, now lost lost for the year.

The other linebackers and linemen still active have just five sacks between them.


Overall Trend: Steady

No one's opinion of the Texans should change based on one week.

It's easy to point out flaws after a loss, but those flaws have been present all year.

Houston has limitations, but also loads of talent. It's impossible to watch the Texans play and not pick out multiple positions on the field where they are superior to any opponent.

Yes, a great quarterback can carve them up, but that's exactly what great quarterbacks do in 2012. It's the nature of the modern NFL.

As long as the Texans stay healthy, they'll be a force in the AFC and a threat to win it all.


Injury information courtesy of the Houston Texans' PR department via press release.


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