Houston Texans Face A Win-And-In Playoff Scenario Under DeMeco Ryans Who Should Win NFL Coach Of The Year

Coming into the 2023 NFL season the Houston Texans were projected to win five games. First-year head coach DeMeco Ryans and his team had other plans.

The surprising Texans are 9-7 and face a win-and-in scenario against the AFC South division rival Indianapolis Colts, whose 9-7 record has given them the same fate. 

DeMeco Ryans Should Be NFL Coach of the Year Favorite

None of this was thought to be possible for a Texans team with a rookie head coach and quarterback and a roster full of raw, unproven players. But Ryans has done wonders for the culture in H-Town, and he’s given the keys to his No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud, who’s the odds-on favorite to win AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year.

For all he’s accomplished out of the gate, Ryans should be at the forefront of all NFL Coach of the Year races.

Texans Look To Avenge Week 2 Loss

Saturday’s winner-take-all matchup is really the first round of the playoffs for both teams. A loss and your season’s likely over, barring some wild scenarios transpiring.

The easiest route is to win and solidify your spot, and Ryans knows this game won’t be anything like his team’s 31-20 home loss to the Colts in Week 2. 

Speaking with the media on Monday, Ryans warned against a similar result.

“Yeah we’re a completely different team, they’re a completely different team,” the former 49ers DC said. “For me, it’s all fresh start. For us, I don’t really put much weight on the first game of the year. I start watching and I’m like, ‘Man, who is this team? It seems like that was so long ago, playing that second game, so fresh start for both teams. I think they have different players in, we have different players in.”

Ryans displayed the calm demeanor that made him such a highly coveted coaching candidate in 2022 and 2023. In many ways it’s reminiscent of what we’ve seen from Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who is in the dog days of his NFL-record 17th consecutive non-losing season to begin a coaching career.

What’s crazy is Tomlin has never won the award. 

C.J. Stroud Is Healthy

The Texans are happy to have their star quarterback back in the fold. C.J. Stroud missed two games in December with a concussion. The team went 1-1.

He returned in Sunday’s 26-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, and just in time for this huge matchup.  

Texans fans everywhere should feel good about their chances, because Stroud was dynamite in the Week 2 loss, passing for 384 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage is the second-highest output of his rookie season. He’s grown leaps and bounds since that game.

Ryans’ defense improves each week and is a respectable 14th overall but ranks ninth in third down percentage and 12th in points per game. The unit will have to be locked in to contain the mobile quarterback Gardner Minshew and Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.

A win in this game will go a long way in landing Ryans that COY award. That’s something nobody saw coming in year one. 

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