CARDINALS CORNER

Texans heat index: Tracking Cardinals’ 2nd 1st-round pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Nov 28, 2023, 1:48 PM | Updated: 2:12 pm

With each passing week, the 2024 NFL Draft chatter gets that much louder for the Arizona Cardinals.

Not only does the team have its own first-round pick — which is currently second overall — it also has the Houston Texans’ top pick in 2024 after draft-day trade orchestrated by general manager Monti Ossenfort.

What looked like a top 10 pick in its own right has turned into anything but following a surprising season from rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and Co. under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans.

That’s not to say things can’t change from now until the end of the year, though. A lot can happen over the final six games of the season.

To help keep track of the Cardinals’ extra first-round pick in the draft on a weekly basis, here’s a closer look at where the Texans are currently and where they are headed:

The week that was

After falling behind early against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12, the Texans figured things out in the second half, putting themselves in a position to force overtime vs. the AFC South leaders with a 58-yard field goal attempt.

The snap was on target, the hold was good and the kick was straight down the middle.

The only thing missing was the distance, as former Cardinals and now ex-Texans kicker Matt Amendola doinked it off the crossbar and backwards into the field of play for one of the most heart-breaking losses of the afternoon.

Heat index: Warm

Despite the defeat that now has the Texans at 6-5 on the season, Stroud still remains in the top 10 in terms of MVP odds at seventh (+2000), per FanDuel Sportsbooks.

And it shouldn’t be hard to see why, as Stroud sits second among NFL QBs in passing yards (3,339) and is sporting an impressive 19-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio despite tossing three of those picks against the Cardinals in Week 11.

The Texans’ odds of making the postseason remain much more promising than they did entering the year, too, at -104. They are, however, still slightly favored to miss the playoffs at -118.

Where they stack up

If the season ended Wednesday, the Texans would send the Cardinals the 17th overall pick in the upcoming draft, according to Tankathon.

That is surely going to change between now and then, though, with the Texans nestled between 11 teams with either five or six wins.

The biggest thing to watch in the log jam or any ties in the record that might come about for the Texans, will be Houston’s strength of schedule.

Of those 11 teams, the Texans have a lower SOS (.481) than seven others and are tied with Indianapolis, though are currently losing the head-to-head battle:

– Cincinnati Bengals (5-6): .578
– Los Angeles Rams (5-6): .531
– Seattle Seahawks (6-5): .505
– Las Vegas Raiders (5-7): .503
– Minnesota Vikings (6-6): .500
– Buffalo Bills (6-6): .495
– Denver Broncos (6-5): .487
Houston Texans (6-5): .481
– Indianapolis Colts (6-5): .481
– Green Bay Packers (5-6): .466
– New Orleans Saints (5-6): .411
– Atlanta Falcons (5-6): .403

If draft position comes down to SOS with those squads due to ties, the Texans would hold the higher draft spot.

But if the Texans end up in a dead heat with any of the Packers, Saints or Falcons — all of which have five wins entering Week 13 — Houston’s pick will move down the draft board as all three hold an easier SOS.

The rest of the way

As the SOS indicates, the Texans have far from a murderer’s row when it comes to wrapping up the season.

In the next six weeks, the Texans will have three matchups against teams currently in the playoff picture in the Cleveland Browns and Colts.

The other four are against 4-7 squads that are likely looking to the future at this point in the year in the Tennessee Titans (twice), New York Jets and Broncos, who Houston plays in Week 13.

The final six:

– vs. Broncos
– @ Jets
– @ Titans
– vs. Browns
– vs. Titans
– @ Colts

While the Broncos currently sit outside the playoff picture, they’ve come a long way from being among the biggest laughingstocks of the NFL.

After posting an ugly 1-5 mark six games into the season, Sean Payton and the Broncos have rattled off five straight victories that included Ws over the Kansas City Chiefs and Bills.

The once pseudo-bye week many viewed Denver as earlier in the season is anything but now.

Games to watch

Outside of Texans-Broncos, there are a handful of games to keep tabs on that could end up impacting where Houston’s pick ends up come April.

Here are the ones to watch in Week 13:

– Colts (6-5) @ Titans (4-7)
– Falcons (5-6) @ Jets (4-7)
– Saints (5-6) vs. Lions (8-3)
– Rams (5-6) vs. Browns (7-4)
– Packers (5-6) vs. Chiefs (8-3)
– Bengals (5-6) @ Jaguars (8-3)

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