Underdog Texans: 'Nobody Wants To Be In This Position'
The Houston Texans, when it comes to the odds, find themselves in an odd position: They are, we'll educated-guess, the rare defending division champs who follow up that title by opening the next NFL season by being underdogs in Weeks 1, 2, and 3.
“Nobody wants to be in this position,'' Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said on Wednesday morning as Houston continues to attempt to regroup from what could be a demoralizing 0-2 start. "We just have to keep improving.”
We're sure the team itself would agree there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to individual work from the coaching staff and the roster; O'Brien said as much the other day about a Texans bunch that can say that J.J. Watt is off to a good start ... without too many folks performing at his level.
But maybe the quality of the foes - and the coinciding differences in the Week 1, 2 and 3 point spreads - represent a chance for improvement.
Houston, despite being the defending AFC South champions, opened the season at Kansas City - home of the defending Super Bowl champions - and served as nine-point underdogs.
The oddsmakers were right; The Chiefs won, 34-20.
Houston then came home in Week 2 but was faced with another powerful foe in the Baltimore Ravens. Oddsmakers placed the Texans as an underdog again, this time by seven points.
The oddsmakers were right; The Ravens won, 33-16.
Now comes a trip to Heinz Field for a Week 3 meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are 2-0 - yes, so are the Chiefs and the Ravens - but it could be argue that Pittsburgh has feasted on a pair of relative have-nots in the Giants and the Broncos.
Of course, it could be argued, given the way that Houston has played, that the Chiefs and Ravens have taken advantage of a have-not as well.
Anyway, this time around, the Texans are just 3.5-point underdogs on the road against a Steelers team that has scored exactly 26 points in each of its wins.
So the Texans have climbed from being a nine-point dog to being a seven-point dog to being a 3.5-point dog this Sunday. It's not progress that counts anywhere near progress in the standings. But given the O'Brien-led Texans "position'' ... It's better than some of the alternatives.