Hoping Christmas Comes Early: Houston Faces New England in the Season Opener

Brian Barefield | 9/7/2018, 10:07 a.m.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” I sing loudly as I write this article. Yes, I know those ...
Houston Texans Deshaun Watson

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” I sing loudly as I write this article. Yes, I know those are lyrics to a Christmas song and we are in the month of September, but what better song is appropriate for what’s about to take place this weekend. Football is back!

The Houston Texans begin their 2018-19 season with a tough opponent, the AFC Champion New England Patriots. No better way for Head Coach Bill O’Brien and the rest of the coaching staff to measure the amount of talent they have than to play against the standard bearers of the AFC for the last 10 years. Houston is well aware of who the Patriots are having played them the last three years.

“We play them a lot. I think that’s just the way it goes with the schedule relative to them. This year, we play the AFC East, so that’s the way it is this year, but yeah, we play them a lot,” Coach O’Brien replied when asked does he feel like the Patriots are in the AFC South.

Last year’s contest went down to the wire as it took a last-minute drive from future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady to defeat the Texans 36 – 33. What caught the Patriots attention in that game was Deshaun Watson, Houston’s quarterback, who was making only the second start of his NFL career. The former National Champion at Clemson completed 22 of his 33 attempts for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Watson, who will be back under center for the first time in seven months since he tore his ACL in practice, is looking forward to being back on the field. “Every day is a learning experience. I am 22 years old and just trying to improve each and every day,” said the Texans QB.

For as eager as the Texans are to get their star quarterback on the field, they also are elated to have their entire defensive unit back healthy and ready to go. This first game will be a true test for them facing Brady and All-Pro tight end Rob Grownkowski. In last year’s matchup, the defense was able to disrupt the Patriots offense by getting to the quarterback (5 sacks) and forcing Brady to do some things out of character. But this year will be different with Brady showing that he doesn’t age coming off of a 505 passing yard performance in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52.

Tom Brady and JJ Watt

Tom Brady and JJ Watt

“He understands how to win, and we have to understand the importance of getting him off the football field. Because any time we keep him on the football field, he can do some good things. So, we just have to go there, be ready, communicate well, tackle well,” said safety Tyrann Mathieu when asked about watching Tom Brady on film.

A victory for the Texans against the Patriots would be like Christmas came early this year and I could probably get some fans to join me in bellowing out, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

The Texans will face the Patriots this Sunday at 12 in New England.