Texans Win AFC South Division

By Allan Jamail

Monday, January 8, 2024 ~ The Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys both won their divisions this weekend.

On Saturday, January 6, 2024, the Houston Texans made the playoffs for the first time since 2019, with their 23-19 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Saturday’s win clinched them a wild-card spot. But on Sunday the south division’s leading Jacksonville Jaguars lost 28 to 20 to the Tennessee Titans, making the Texans the 2023 AFC South division champs. Last season they were one of the worst teams in the NFL and now they’re the champs.

Welcome to the playoffs, Houston Texans fans. The Cleveland Browns will come to Houston Saturday (1-13-24) to face for the first time Texans rookie quarterback (QB) C.J. Stroud. The game will be televised at 3:30 PM on NBC (Channel 2).

In a rematch, these two teams will kick off the NFL postseason playoffs. Already winning once in Houston just four weeks ago, the Browns will look for a repeat performance from QB Joe Flacco and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who set a franchise record for single-game receiving yards in that matchup. It’s worth noting that the Texans were without starting QB C.J. Stroud in that game because he was sidelined by the NFL head concussion protocol rule.

Two big reasons for the Texans going from a miserable losing team with only 3 wins last season to a division champ in one season is due to the hiring of DeMeco Ryans as their new head coach. Ryans’ decision to use the Texans first draft choice to pick C. J. Stroud as their quarterback was monumental in his effort to rebuild the team.

Stroud played college football at Ohio State, where he holds many school records, including most passing yards in a single game with 573, as well as being the first player to throw for six touchdowns three times.

The 39 year old DeMeco Ryans was a college star himself. He played for the Alabama Crimson Tide as Inside Linebacker from 2002 – 2005. He won the South East Conference Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005. Ryans was named the 2006 Cotton Bowl Classic defensive MVP in their 13–10 win over Texas Tech. Following his senior season, Ryans received the Lott Trophy* (*Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity) for his combination of athletic excellence and off the- field achievements and was recognized as a unanimous All-American.

Ryans played 10 years as a pro in the NFL, six years as a Houston Texan and four years with the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2006 he won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and made the NFL All Pro Team twice. Before taking the Texans coaching job, he was the San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator.

This past Sunday, after Saturday’s winning game, DeMeco and his wife Jamila joined NC Star writer Allan and Linda Jamail on the same pew at the Fifth Ward Church of Christ, where both families are members. After services the Jamails visited with the Ryans, who have three children, and congratulated DeMeco on the Texans win.


In Saturday’s game, Texan’s future NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate quarterback C.J. Stroud played an incredible game, completing 20 of 26 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. The first play of the game for the Texans on offense was a 75 yard bomb from Stroud to Nico Collins for a touchdown. Nico Collins was his favorite receiver, catching all nine of his passes for 195 yards and one touchdown, bringing Collins’ season’s totals to 80 receptions for 1,297 yards and 8 TD’s.

Stroud’s rookie season performances have put him in a superior group of rookie company. He made NFL history for the most passing yards in a single game by a rookie with 470 yards against Tampa Bay. With the two touchdowns and zero interceptions on Saturday, Stroud tied the single-season record for rookies for games with two or more touchdowns and zero interceptions. So far his season’s pass completion record is 63.9% of his 499 pass attempts for 4,108 yards and 23 touchdowns — a 1% pass interception percentage.

Stroud will become the third quarterback drafted in the top two since at least 1967 to start a playoff game. The Texans also become the fifth playoff team to feature a rookie quarterback and a first year head coach in DeMeco Ryans.

As for the Indianapolis Colts, they relied on star running back Jonathan Taylor. He rushed 30 times for 188 yards and one touchdown, but briefly exited the matchup in the second half due to an ankle injury. He was listed as doubtful to return but he did return. He helped carry Indy to the red zone before the game-deciding Colts-dropped pass on 4th and 1. Indy QB Gardner Minshew completed 13 of 24 passes for just 141 yards, his second-lowest total in a start this season.