• Brian L. Barefield

Home Cooking: Houston Texans Plays First Home Game of the 2018 NFL Season Against the Giants

Growing up, I can admit that I wasn’t the perfect angel. I know that’s hard to believe but it’s true. There were a lot of lessons I had to learn the hard way, which would lead my grandmother to always say her favorite phrase before she would politely show me the meaning of it. Literally. “A hard head makes a soft butt.” If the Texans don’t learn from their miscues in a 20 – 17 loss to division rival Tennessee Titans, they will have to learn that phrase the hard way. They start the season 0-3.

“We can’t start slow. We can’t put ourselves behind the eight ball to start games out. We’ve got to play complementary football, offense, defense, special teams. If we have a chance to make a play, we’ve got to make those plays. We’ve got to step up, get off the field, whatever it may be to win the game at the end of the day,” said veteran defensive back Jonathan Joseph when asked what are some of the things the team has learned in the last two games.

Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien

The Texans will take on the New York Giants this Sunday at NRG stadium in their home opener and some may believe that it’s too early in the season to say “Must Win Game,” but Sunday’s performance will tell the direction in which the season is going for Houston. “You look at every game that way. It’s just the way it is in this league and you just try and get everyone on the same page and try to go out and win a game every week,” head coach Bill O’Brien responded when asked that question during his weekly press conference.

There have been 168 teams since 1980 to start the season 0-3, with only five of them making it into the postseason. Houston is looking to avoid such a disastrous start and wants to send their opponents (Giants) to their second consecutive winless start of the season. That may be a difficult task when you face an offense that consists of a two-time Super Bowl champion in quarterback Eli Manning, and two game changers in WR Odell Beckham Jr. and RB Saquan Barkley.

Rookie Safety Justin Reid knows that going up against those two players is going to be very challenging. “You have to give him (OBJ) the respect he deserves. Odell got that huge contract for a reason. He is the best in the game and can run all the routes in the route tree,” said Reid who is starting to see significant playing time going into the third game of his career. “We also have to do our job and take him out of the game plan.”

Houston will also look to exploit the Giants weakness on the offensive line and applying a lot of pressure on Manning. One bright spot for the Texans defense this early football season has been the excellent play of NG D.J. Reader. He has gained the respect of all his teammates and led former All-Pro and teammate J.J. Watt to heap praises upon praises about him. “He has been great. He leads the team in sacks and he knows his job and does his job. I feel he is the best nose guard in the league.”

Hopefully, the Texans will improve on their mistakes they have made in the first two games and get a win in front of the home crowd. If not, those words my grandmother use to tell me as she ushered me into the back room to discipline me will ring true. “A hard head makes a soft butt.”

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