Houston Texans Preseason Outlook

Texans Over/Under 7.5 Wins

The Texans have won the AFC South in four of the last five seasons, but that run will stop in 2020. In fact, they might not even make the playoffs in a division where they will have to battle against two up-and-coming franchises such as the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans, as well as the ever-rebuilding Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans may be one of the favorites for the NFL public betting but this may be the year their luck runs out. 

Houston feature a star quarterback in Deshaun Watson, an all-world defender in J.J. Watt, and some complementary pieces on both sides of the ball. They should be able to contend for a Wild Card berth if everything goes right for them. However, on paper, they might struggle to keep up with the Titans — who reached the AFC Championship Game in 2019 — and the Colts, who should feature one of the meanest defenses in the NFL.

The loss of all-pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for RB David Johnson, will leave a huge void in the franchise’s receiving corps. Hopkins was Watson’s safety net, but he also represented a deep threat who could create havoc on intermediate routes when needed. That kind of players don’t grow on trees, and it’s not like the Texans have enough internal options to deal with his departure. Right now, the Texans’ depth chart shows Will Fuller V, Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb as main threats. That’s not a group that could entice fear in opposing secondaries.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Texans also lost Carlos Hyde, who finished with over 1,000 rushing yards in 2019.  Johnson could be an adequate replacement, but he is past his prime and is no longer the dual-threat he was in 2016, when he accounted for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage. The defense allowed 6,213 total yards last season — fifth-worst mark in the league — and they didn’t make any substantial additions to improve things on that side of the ball. They are also dependant on Watt’s health, and the star linebacker has missed 32 games in the past four years, including eight in 2019.

The Texans’ NFL over/under for this season has been set at 7.5. Even though they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, that’s not going to cut it this year. The loss of quality pieces on both sides of the ball will hurt them, as well as the development of other teams in the AFC and a tough schedule. For that reason, I expect them to finish the year with a maximum of seven wins.
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