Houston Texans

Are Texans the biggest challenger to the Patriots?

The Houston Texans received an MVP-level performance from Deshaun Watson in Week 6, who led his team to a last-gasp victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Billed as a battle pitting Super Bowl contenders in the AFC and MVP candidates at quarterback against each other, the Week 6 early game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs did not disappoint.

Both teams traded blows through the four quarters, but the Texans ultimately prevailed in a thrilling 31-24 contest. And it all came down to the wire, with star quarterback Deshaun Watson scoring his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon to give his team the lead. He then sealed the deal with a two-point conversion.

The crazy thing is, despite Watson’s two rushing touchdowns, this was far from his best game. Watson threw a pair of interceptions, averaged under seven yards per attempt, and struggled to hook up with star receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller for big plays. Granted, one of those interceptions was a “punt” on fourth down near the end of the second quarter, but that was a deep throw Watson normally makes.

Yet Watson and the Texans found a way to win, and they did so against a Chiefs team that is usually unstoppable at home. Patrick Mahomes threw three touchdowns, including a pair of scores to the returning Tyreek Hill, but that simply wasn’t enough to overcome a Texans team that is clicking at the right time.

This win means that the Texans are in control of their destiny in the AFC, as only the undefeated New England Patriots can conceivably claim to be better head-to-head. Although the Chiefs lost to Houston’s rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, last week, the Texans look like the more dangerous team, especially with a legitimate star quarterback in Watson at the helm.

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How the Texans perform against the Patriots on Dec. 1 will tell the rest of the NFL world just how ready Houston is to compete for a Super Bowl in 2020, but the Pats should be worried about the threat that Watson poses. And it’s not just the passing game that should have the Patriots worried: Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson absolutely mowed over the Chiefs defense on the ground to lead the Texans to nearly 200 rushing yards in Week 6.

The Texans still have questions left to answer on defense, but this is a signature win for them in the 2019 season. After taking the New Orleans Saints to the wire in Week 1 and losing, the Texans avoided being their own worst enemy in Week 6 and got the job done in an arguably bigger game. As of right now, they can lay claim to being the second-best team in the AFC behind New England, with all eyes on their December matchup.

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