Payne: I Trust The Steelers More Than The Texans

The Texans have won eight straight games, but former Houston defensive tackle Seth Payne questions how they stack up against the AFC's elite

Taz and the Moose
November 27, 2018 - 11:10 am

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The Houston Texans (8-3) have won eight games in a row, but many people – including former Texans defensive tackle Seth Payne – aren’t ready to anoint them as Super Bowl favorites.

“Part of the problem is they haven’t had a hard schedule – and they really don’t have a hard schedule remaining,” the Sports Radio 610 host said on Taz & The Moose. “They’re just not being tested completely.”

The Texans have beaten the Colts, Cowboys, Bills, Jaguars, Dolphins, Broncos, Redskins and Titans. Only three of those teams are above .500 – and none is better than 6-5.

“When you start to think about how they'll stack up in the playoffs, DeAndre Hopkins does that against all competition," Payne said. "J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are going to perform well against top competition. (But) the Tennessee Titans aren’t a very good offense, and the secondary and linebacker corps had some blown coverages and some gaps in coverage. What’s that going to look like against versus the Kansas City Chiefs? What’s that going to look like versus Rob Gronkowski? Those will still be big question marks right on in to the playoffs.”

Deshaun Watson, though, is playing at an elite level. He has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 2,807 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s also rushed for 345 yards and two scores.

“Deshaun is healthy now, and because he is a running threat – because they’re running a genuine option game – it opens things up for everyone else,” Payne said. “It puts that little bit of doubt into the minds of the defense – the linebackers, the safeties – and it really opens things up.”

The Texans are currently the 3-seed in the AFC, but Payne has more faith in the fifth-seeded Steelers (7-3-1).

“I trust the Steelers will do it more consistently versus good opponents, and they have the experience at quarterback,” he said. “A lot of it just rests on Deshaun Watson. If Deshaun continues to look like he did last night and the offensive line continues to make improvements like they have, I think you bump them up. I also have big concerns over the matchups with Kansas City and New England.”

The Texans will go for their ninth straight win this Sunday against the Browns (4-6-1). Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.