How Different Is This 2018 Houston Texans Team Than The 2012 AFC South Champion Squad

J.J. Watt says that this years team just feels different.

The Bull Rush
December 06, 2018 - 8:15 am

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Houston Texans have been a historic squad. Winning 9 games in a row after starting the season 0-3 isn't something bad teams just go out and do. This team, from the very beginning, has been chock full of talent that just needed to find a way to put it all together on the field.

Once they finally did find a way to put all of that talent together on the field, opposing teams have been on the ropes since.

After that 0-3 start, this 2018 Texans squad could finish the season with a record as high as 13-3 or as low as 9-7. However, we've seen success like this in the Texans before. In 2012, the Texans finished with a 12-4 record and then beat the Cincinatti Bengals in the first round of the playoffs, before losing to the New England Patriots in the next round. 

If the Texans finish the year with a 13-3 record, it will be their best record since the 2012.

J.J. Watt was asked how this year's team compares to that 2012 team and he said it just feels different, "I think they’re different for sure. I can’t really put a finger on how or why. They’re different. 2011 was when we won our first playoff game, obviously, and the first division so people were extremely excited about that. I think there’s a certain buzz and excitement and energy that came with that. I think this is different. I don’t know why it’s different, but it’s different. I can only speak to inside the locker room. I think that inside this locker room, we have a bunch of guys who go to work every single day, take it one day at a time and are just really focused on the task at hand each day. I think that it’s a great mentality. I think it’s what’s led us to winning nine in a row, and I think that we have a bunch of really good guys who do a lot of good work to get to Sunday and find a way to win," Watt said Wednesday morning.

How does this year's team compare to that 2012 squad you ask? The team's are actually eerily similar when it comes to the rankings of each. 

In 2012, the team was ranked 7th on both offense and defense. The 2012 defense was a statistically better defense, ranked in the top ten in many defensive statistical categories, but it would be hard to argue that the squad six years ago had more talent than this year's team. As important, loved, and talented as players like Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed, Antonio Smith, Danieal Manning, and Glover Quin were, it's impossible to argue that they're a more talented group than Bernardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Reid and Tyrann Mathieu. 

Offensively the teams were fairly comparable from a talent standpoint for the most part. Deshaun Watson vs. Matt Schaub is pretty close, obviously one is younger and more exciting. Deandre Hopkins vs. Andre Johsnon is a wash. Even though Lamar Miller has been outstanding this year, it's hard to say that he is even close to what a healthy Arian Foster was for the Texans in 2012.

Maybe the biggest offensive difference comes at the offensive line. An offensive line that touted names like Duane Brown, Wade Smith, and Chris Myers is markedly better than this year's offensive line. 

Where the teams are the most similar, however, is in the run game. The 2012 team ranked 8th in the league in running the ball and 7th in the league in stopping the run on defense. This year, the Texans currently rank 3rd in rushing and 5th in stopping the run. Both squads were in the top ten in each category, but it's easy to see where this year's success is coming from when you look at just how great the 2018 Texans are a both running the ball and stopping other teams from doing it.