It seems rather impossible, but a year after owning the No. 2 overall pick and the worst record in the league, the Houston Texans are in the divisional round.
The credit goes to several people, including head coach DeMeco Ryans, the former Texans linebacker who has done a tremendous job with this team in his first year. Maybe Bobby Slowick, the offensive coordinator who seems to have a knack for calling plays. However, the majority really goes to rookie quarterback CJ Stroud, who showed that it is possible that the "Ohio State QB" curse may be over, or maybe he's just that good. But let's pump the brakes.
The Houston Texans and CJ Stroud are trending upward, but there is a long way to go.
The arsenal around Stroud in Houston right now isn't exactly five stars compared to what Stroud worked with in Columbus. Still, the team is showing some signs of a healthy culture, especially using the picks they got from the Cleveland Browns-Deshaun Watson trade to build out the roster. But this is just one season.
Sorry to throw a wet blanket per say, but this is rather a gentle tap on the shoulder that one season does not make or break a career, despite what the public convinces you to believe. Houston still has to keep building. In case people forgot, there was no NFL tape on CJ Stroud before this year, next year there will be.
What is Houston going to do when they can't catch people by surprise anymore? One year, it's all fun and games, and next year, the expectation will be greater, just ask the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last year, division champions and a berth in the divisional round before falling to Kansas City. In all likelihood, Houston will visit KC, pending a Buffalo win over Pittsburgh, but do the Texans do what Deshaun Watson's team did and build a 24-0 lead before losing? Who knows?
Whatever happens remains to be seen, but you can't ignore Houston's football team trending in a positive direction. Having said that, it takes more than one year for a true contender to be established, and from the looks of it, the Texans may be in good positon to do that, provided their QB continues to grow.