AFC South: Time for rest of the division to step up

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Nov 1, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end

J.J. Watt

(99) leaves the field after beating the Tennessee Titans 20-6 at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Houston, we have an opportuntiy

Houston is a team to keep an eye on, even without its star running back Arian Foster. The big reason to be optimistic in Houston is because the Texans have a stud receiver on offense, as well as the best defensive player in the league.

DeAndre Hopkins has been absolutely sensational this year, emerging as one of the league’s most exciting young receivers. Keep in mind he’s catching passes from Brian Hoyer. Speaking of Hoyer, I don’t think he’s a great, franchise-caliber quarterback, and I don’t think he’s capable of single-handedly leading a team into the postseason. However, I do think he’s capable of managing a team.

The big question will be how the team will adapt without Foster. If the veteran running back was still playing, I would be prepared to sign the division over to the Texans.

At least they still have J.J. Watt and an imposing defense. However, for how good he is, Watt simply can’t carry this team. Out of every team in the AFC South, Houston has been by-far the most inconsistent. With that being said, you have to imagine head coach Bill O’Brien is going to light a fire under his guys to make sure they understand they can seriously win this division.

One thing works against this team, though, and that’s its remaining schedule. Games against Cincinnati, the Jets, New England, Buffalo, New Orleans all loom on the horizon, as well as three divisional games.

Key game: Nov. 22 against the Jets

Like I just said, the remaining schedule is brutal for Houston. If they want to capitalize in Luck’s absence, they need to start getting momentum. I don’t expect them to win in Cincy, but beating the Jets is certainly possible, especially at home.

Verdict: Not too shabby. Watt and Co. need to start dominating, though. The loss of Foster is going to hurt a lot, but if the committee approach can work moderately well and Hopkins can keep being Hopkins, the Texans could be looking at a playoff spot 

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