Houston looks to improve in last quarter of season
Yes, the playoffs are being discussed in Houston.
''You've got to treat it week to week and focus on each game individually, but as of right now every single game is a playoff,'' center Chris Myers said. ''That's the way it is. We've got to be able to win every single game and other things will take care of themselves.''
Myers said it would be silly to say that don't think about the possibility of making the postseason for the third time in franchise history.
''The playoffs are always on your mind,'' Myers said. ''That's the overall goal in the NFL is to make the playoffs and get to that big game.''
Houston's 45-21 win over Tennessee on Sunday got the Texans to 6-6 and leaves them second in the AFC South division behind the Colts (8-4). The Texans travel to Jacksonville on Sunday and end the regular-season at home against the Jaguars. They also travel to Indianapolis and host the Ravens in their last four games.
But first they have to deal with the Jaguars, who rallied from a 21-point deficit on Sunday for a win over the Giants. After seeing what they did last week, there's no way the Texans will be looking past Jacksonville.
''I don't care what their record is,'' Houston coach Bill O'Brien said. ''This team is a talented team, well coached. I have a lot of respect for Gus Bradley and the way he coaches, the energy that he brings to their team. They're playing very hard.''
The Texans scored the most points in franchise history last week as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick returned to the starting lineup to throw a career-high and franchise-record six touchdown passes. His performance came after two weeks on the bench and earned the veteran AFC offensive player of the week honors. It's the first time a Houston player has won the honor on offense since Matt Schaub in 2012.
This week, they'll look to repeat that performance and try to win consecutive games for the first time since the first two weeks of the season.
''It's been an inconsistent year in terms of overall performance and being able to move the ball on a consistent basis,'' Myers said. ''But when we're on we're on and we're pretty strong. As long as we can keep building on it and keep growing as an offense and building that cohesiveness I think we're going to be all right.''
Houston's success against the Titans was helped by a defense that is tied for second in the NFL with a plus-11 turnover margin. Linebacker Brian Cushing said a variety of things factor in to forcing turnovers.
''I just think it's aggressive play, good play calling and guys really having an emphasis of getting the ball back for our offense,'' Cushing said. ''I think those things combined have helped things turn out well for us.''
Houston had three interceptions on Sunday and J.J. Watt forced and recovered a fumble for another turnover. He likes that so many different people have been getting in on the turnover action.
''I think it's one of those things that is contagious, guys making plays at all different positions,'' Watt said. ''It's pretty neat when everyone gets involved. I think one of the most fun parts about it is that you never know where it's going to come from.''
The group could get a boost this week with the return of starting cornerback Kareem Jackson, who missed the last three games with a knee injury.
''He was out there (Wednesday) and he looked OK,'' O'Brien said.
He said his chances of playing Sunday are looking better but that he's still day to day.
NOTES: Top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney visited Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida on Wednesday to have his surgically repaired right knee evaluated. O'Brien said when he returns to Houston team officials and doctors will meet to discuss the findings and determine what the next step is for the outside linebacker. Clowney was injured in Week 1 and had arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 8. He has played three games since then, but has never completely recovered from the procedure and said last week that he's still in a lot of pain.
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