A Houston Texans Week 14 date with the New York Jets: what a difference a few weeks make. Let's take a quick stroll back to Week 8, and see just how much these teams' fates have diverged since then.

Week 8 saw the Texans lose to the lowly Carolina Panthers. (Houston is still the only team to take an L from Bryce Young and Co.) By this point, DeMeco Ryans' team was 3-4. Frisky? Sure. But too inconsistent to be any sort of legitimate threat in the AFC South. A team to watch in 2024, but not quite ready in 2023.

DeMeco Ryans, Texans

Meanwhile, the Jets escaped Week 8 with a 4-3 record. Their defense was doing its thing, keeping them in games and making plays as necessary. The offense was…well, it wasn't great. But it felt like it could do just enough with Zach Wilson under center to not waste the defense's excellence for another season.

Fast forward to this Sunday. The Texans are a tie-breaker away from a playoff berth, and can even realistically eye the AFC South crown. Gang Green is seemingly throwing darts at a “Bad Quarterbacks” dartboard and then seeing if the lucky chosen one is even willing to suit up again.

Does either team's season have more twists and turns in store? That's what we are trying to figure out with these Texans Week 14 predictions, so let's not delay any longer.

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Blake Cashman Revenge Game

For New York fans, it would probably be enough to count on an ex-Jet to make a big play against his old team. It just feels like it's bound to happen, an inevitability to set one's Apple Watch to.

But the twist is that Blake Cashman has been very good in his own right for the Texans this season. The Week 6 AFC Defensive Player of the Week leads Houston in tackles with 84; no one else on the team has even 60. He's become an integral part of Ryans' defense, playing 100% of the snaps on defense in two of the last three games. (He got to 97% in the other.)

The splash plays have been harder to come by, as Cashman has just two sacks and one interception on the year. But look out for him on Sunday. One of the above, a forced fumble. It just feels right that Cashman will make his old team pay.

Texans' CJ Stroud smiling

Stroud turns the ball over

Outside of an ugly game against the Arizona Cardinals earlier this season, rookie C.J. Stroud has done an exceptional job protecting the football. He's got just five interceptions against 20 TD passes.

But this Jets defense is two things: it's very good, and it's desperate.

Upfront, Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich have a plethora of options to get to the opposing quarterback with. The defensive line is so deep and talented, the need to blitz hardly arises. Sending four is usually enough, and Houston's banged up offensive line will certainly have its hands full.

The other factor to consider is the burden on the Jets defense these days. This is a group fully aware that its counterpart on offense is not going to be of much use. As a result, secondary players for New York are taking risks, trying to jump routes and intercept passes.

New York Jets, Sauce Gardner

In Week 12, it was a Brandin Echols pick-six to get the Jets on the board. Week 13, a safety as a result of Ashtyn Davis' aggressiveness. With all that talent and need to cover for (insert name of hopeless Jets QB here), Stroud will be tested on Sunday. The odds are, he'll get got at least once.

Texans gallop past Jets

This one isn't too complicated. The Texans have hit on a bonafide superstar at quarterback. Stroud gives Houston a chance to win each and every week. He has a deep receiving group at his disposal and the confidence to go throw-for-throw with any QB in the league.

On the complete other end of the spectrum, the Jets have a revolving door in their quarterbacks room. Which means, of course, they have no real solution, and no real hope. It's a team spinning its wheels until 2024 at this point.

Houston has done everything right under Ryans and Stroud to set itself up for success. The Texans won't stumble in this one.