Despite reaching the playoffs just a season ago, both the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings already find themselves in an early-season hole with Week 4 of the 2020 campaign now looming quite large for this tandem of struggling franchises. Not only did the Texans and Vikings each reach the postseason in 2019-20, both even won a playoff game, which makes their respective 0-3 starts to the year that much more surprising.
With the Texans allowing the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers mount a comeback on Sunday afternoon, the Vikings also blew a lead to the Tennessee Titans, another 3-0 franchise. The Steelers defeated the Texans by the score of 28-21 with the Titans edging the Vikings 31-30. Although close, competitive games in Week 3, both teams managed to fail to get the job done as the standings still read a winless 0-3 — something that doesn’t typically bode well for NFL franchises looking to reach the playoffs.
Prior to the team’s loss to the Steelers, the Texans opened the regular season with back-to-back losses to the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC’s top seed from a season ago in the Baltimore Ravens. As for the Vikings, Minnesota has fallen at the hands of the rival Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts in addition to the aforementioned Titans.
Because the Texans have encountered the toughest schedule in the entire NFL thus far into the season paired with the fact that Houston plays in a much weaker division in the AFC South, this team has a better chance of rebounding en route to a postseason berth than the Vikings do. Although it is still early, the Vikings’ season has ended before it even had a chance to begin.
The Texans have played arguably the toughest three games that the team will play all season long between Week 1 and Week 3, which is no way to start a normal season let alone an unprecedented campaign like 2020-21. Because Houston already has these games out of the way while simultaneously knocking off some rust, the Texans could very well be ready to play at a much higher level when the team’s divisional opponents start popping up on the schedule. A rough start could turn into a blessing in disguise quite quickly for the Texans if this team can perform well against lesser opponents and the Colts, Titans and lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
If the Texans can defeat the hit or miss Jaguars twice, which should be very doable, while splitting two-game series with both the Titans and Colts, that could put this team in position to make a run with the rest of Houston’s schedule being a bit more favorable. The Texans will also take on the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals along the way in 2020-21, which should net a quartet of wins.
Due to the fact that the AFC and NFC will both sport seven playoff teams instead of six this time around, that seventh and final postseason spot could surely be within reach if the Texans can hit the eight-win mark.