Texans vs Rams Game Preview
Houston returns to Los Angeles to take on the NFL’s newest “superteam”: the Rams. Third-year quarterback Jared Goff leads the Super Bowl hopefuls against a returning DeShaun Watson who’s hungry to make amends for time lost.
The Rams destroyed the short-handed Texans last season. Goff put up 355 passing yards and three touchdowns in what was one of his best games. But with Watson and their best defenders returning, this preseason game will be a different story.
The Texans were decimated by injuries last season losing Watson along with three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt (DE) and Whitney Mercilus (LB). This doomed them to a 4-12 record and a last-place division finish.
The team is now back together with notable additions like All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. If this team stays healthy, a Super Bowl run is highly possible despite some glaring weaknesses remaining.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams aren’t here to participate, they’re here to take over. Following a quick out in the playoffs last season, GM Les Snead stole the offseason by acquiring several big-name players on both ends.
Joining the Rams will be the likes of Ndamukong Suh (DT) and Brandin Cooks (WR) along with several others. On paper, this team should be a top-three Super Bowl favourite but coach Sean McVay will have to balance the team’s new personalities. If he does, the sky is the limit.
Houston had a terrible first impression in Los Angeles but with a team that’s fully intact, they should put up a better fight. The Rams will still be favoured just based on how stacked they are but Houston has less new players to acclimatize and will have better chemistry. They snatch this one from LA.
Texans vs Rams Head-to-Head Records
The Texans and the Rams haven’t met many times given Houston’s youth as a franchise. They first met in 2005, Houston’s third season, which the then-St. Louis Rams won 33-27. The Rams are 3-1 against the Texans with Houston’s only win coming in 2009.
It’s been a lopsided series for the most part. The Rams have outscored Houston 71 to 20 in their last two meetings. They seem to meet every time the Texans are fielding a terrible team. The three times St. Louis defeated Houston, the Texans’ records were: 2-14 (2005 and 2013) and 4-12 (2017).
St. Louis wasn’t so hot as a franchise either. It’s only recently they’ve begun to ascend to contender status. This makes their future meetings with Houston worth anticipating. The Texans have a solid young core of players as well. These two could be future title contenders and this preseason meeting may even be a glimpse of a future Super Bowl.
It depends on how consistent both teams can get. Their next regular season meeting won’t be until 2021. The NFL changes quickly and contenders can turn to laughing stocks almost immediately. But with well-managed franchises, it’s more likely these two stays relevant.
Houston Texans Recent History
After Houston’s original franchise, the Oilers, moved to Tennessee to become the Titans in 1996, the city needed a new team. Six years later, the Texans debuted with Dom Capers as their coach. In 2006, they hired Gary Kubiak who would get the Texans to their first playoff appearance in 2011.
That year also marked superstar defender Watt’s rookie year. The defensive end would captain the Texans as one of the AFC’s best defences but their lack of a quarterback limited their successes. They would win four division titles from 2011 to 2016 but wouldn’t make it further than the divisional round.
Kubiak was fired in 2013 and Bill O’Brien now leads the Texans but they have yet to match their 2012 season where they won 12 games. With Watson as their quarterback and the defence only getting better, the best years for Houston are just ahead.
Los Angeles Rams Recent History
The original Los Angeles Rams began in 1946 following a relocation from Cleveland a year after their first NFL Championship. The franchise would win another and lose its only Super Bowl appearance in 1979. This was the best period during the team’s first stay in Los Angeles.
They won seven straight division titles from 1973 to 1979 and were a perennial playoff contender until 1989. Then the wheels came off and they entered a losing period until the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. Its fortunes would turn around seemingly overnight when Kurt Warner took the field in 1999.
The Rams went from last-place to Super Bowl champion thanks to one of the all-time great offences. They would return to the Super Bowl in 2001 but it would all go downhill from there as they would miss the playoffs until 2017, their second year back in Los Angeles.
Houston Texans Outlook
Outside of a dependable offensive line and running back, the Texans are stacked everywhere else. They have an amazing defence with superstars on every level. Watt leads the defensive line backed by Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney behind at linebacker.
The secondary, which already boasts Johnathan Joseph gets a boost with Mathieu and third-round pick Justin Reid at the safety spots. Reid was a total coup for the Texans. He was considered one of the top safeties and a potential first-round pick but fell in Houston’s lap.
Watson will have to stay healthy if Houston is to do any kind of damage. They spent half the offseason adding help on offence including patching up the tackles and drafting receivers and tight ends. A Super Bowl could be in their future if they finally get a good break.
Los Angeles Rams Outlook
The Rams haven’t looked this promising since the “Greatest Show on Turf” days almost 20 years ago. Goff has a long way to go to equal what Warner did but he has the right weapons around him. Todd Gurley is the league’s most prolific running back. Cooks gives them a new threat at receiver.
On defence, Los Angeles has the best defensive line with reigning DPOY Aaron Donald pairing up with Ndamukong Suh and their secondary is loaded with Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters anchoring the corners while Lamarcus Joyner blossoms into an elite safety.
They aren’t perfect, however. The Rams cut ties with several key players from 2017 including leading edge rusher Robert Quinn and top linebacker Alec Ogletree. If their new acquisitions don’t pan out, they could face a rough patch. But there so much talent here that the Rams should at least be a winning team.
Goff and Watson will get plenty of burn as we near the regular season. Expect plenty of reps for the first teams at least for a half. Goff will have the benefit of a better offence. His line is better and Gurley is better than any offensive player the Texans have. But he isn’t quite as talented as Watson.
Watson could be running around as early as the first period as the Rams’ monstrous defensive line will swallow whatever protection the Texans have. Fortunately, DeAndre Hopkins and the Texans’ receivers are among the most dependable.
The Rams have a major edge when it comes to their defensive line but the Texans’ linebackers are significantly better. They’ll need to be on their game to stop Gurley. As for the second teams, Brandon Weeden of Houston should outplay Sean Mannion of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is top-heavy and should win the first team battle but it will swing in Houston’s favour when the backup units come. For this reason, the Texans win.