In a matter of a month, the Houston Texans went from sitting at the bottom of the AFC South to beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-7 to put them in sole possession of the division. After a slow start to 2018, the Texans put together a convincing and dominant game for the first time this season to pull out the win in Jacksonville.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has been patient with his team and that patience is paying off with a team that is playing more disciplined in all three phases of the game.
"I feel very good for this team because these guys have worked hard. They have overcome a lot," O'Brien said of the Texans' win on Sunday. "It's very hard to dig yourself out of a 0-and-3 hole but we are not even at the half way point of the season. We haven't even hit Thanksgiving. We have to enjoy this win for right now, quickly get off the plane and start working. I mean we have already started, and turn our attention to the Miami Dolphins."
With the short turnaround, the Texans have three days to prepare for the Dolphins for their Thursday night contest. The Texans usually opt for a mental approach to prepare for the short week with the focus on taking care of the players. That focus for the team to relay to the players includes adequate time for sleep, the recovery process from the game before which includes eating properly, hydration, and workouts in the weight room.
"You have a quick turnaround here, so it is very much of a mental week," O'Brien said of the Texans' preparation. "We have to do a good job of teaching the game plan and we have got to do a good job of focusing in the meeting but it is definitely a different week."
The Texans are currently riding the wave of a four-game winning streak, their first since the 2015 season when O'Brien was in his second season with the team.
The Texans snapped a 20-game turnover streak on Sunday by not turning the ball over. It was also the first game this season that Deshaun Watson did not turn the ball over all season.
WR Keke Coutee had a hamstring injury against the Jaguars and missed a majority of the game. He has already been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Dolphins. Coutee mentioned the hamstring injury is not as serious as the one from the preseason.
RB Tyler Ervin filled in for Coutee after he was lost for the game with a hamstring injury. With Coutee ruled out, Ervin could be the short-term replacement at the slot position until further notice.
TE Jordan Akins is being utilized as an H-Back, giving him some more work on the field. Akins' usage was up this week and if they keep him in this role, it could mean more chances down the road.
TE Ryan Griffin came down with an illness late last week and forced him to miss the game. His status is up in the air heading into Thursday night.