Over the last several years, the Houston Texans have become one of the most predictable teams in the NFL. They beat the teams they should beat. They lose to the teams they should lose to. They go back and forth with the Colts winning division titles in a very weak AFC South. And when they get into the playoffs, the second they run into a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they assume the fetal position and die.
The one constant that is utterly unpredictable with the Texans year in and year out is the man under center. It’s a continuous carousel of clowns from Case Keenum to Ryan Mallett to Brandon Weeden. This season, it looks like Tom Savage will take the reins initially, followed by the inevitable change to rookie Deshaun Watson. If that is how it ultimately plays out, it’ll give Bill O’Brien nine different starting quarterbacks over the last four seasons.
Why the Texans Will Overachieve in 2017
Watson takes over at the Week 1 outset, and proves that he was worth two first-round picks and a second-round pick in draft capital. He puts up a similar rookie campaign as Jameis Winston did in his first year with the Bucs when he tossed 22 touchdowns, made some great plays with his legs and ultimately made a lot of mistakes, yet still, a marketed improvement than what any of the previous Texans’ quarterbacks brought to the table. With an elite defense, Houston get marginal quarterback play from Watson and the team reaches 11 wins and the postseason.
Is the schedule favorable enough to attain an 11-win season? Absolutely. Starting 4-2 isn’t out of the question before Watson proves himself with a big upset at Seattle, then comes home and takes care of the Colts to effectively put the AFC South away. The Texans stumble on Monday Night Football against Baltimore and lose the next week at Tennessee, but they get back on track with wins over the 49ers and Jaguars before a Christmas Day showdown with the Steelers that proves to be the tipping point for the franchise.
Why the Texans Will Underachieve in 2017
Denny Green once uttered one of the most memorable quotes in NFL history saying, “We are who we thought they were.”
Savage is who we thought he was…complete garbage. O’Brien shows too much patience with Watson and keeps him on the bench while sticking with Savage as Houston fans realize this is the same man who hasn’t thrown a career touchdown pass in five NFL appearances. The results from here are predictable. A home loss in Week 1 to the Jaguars sets up a disappointing 0-3 start. O’Brien doesn’t make the quarterback change and succumbs to the hot seat pressure as the Texans are just 1-5 going into their Week 7 bye.
Sure, the defense turns out to be outstanding again for the Texans, but perhaps J.J. Watt declines just a bit, and that allows for too many fourth-quarter collapses. Houston went 8-2 last year in games decided by seven points or fewer, something that is tough to keep up. In the end, the Texans lose nine games by one score and go from one of the luckiest teams in the league to the AFC South cellar, resulting in O’Brien and General Manager Rick Smith getting canned after a second loss to Jacksonville in Week 14.
2017 Houston Texans Schedule
Week 1: vs. Jaguars
Week 2: at Bengals
Week 3: at Patriots
Week 4: vs. Titans
Week 5: vs. Chiefs
Week 6: vs. Browns
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: at Seahawks
Week 9: vs. Colts
Week 10: at Rams
Week 11: vs. Cardinals
Week 12: at Ravens
Week 13: at Titans
Week 14: vs. 49ers
Week 15: at Jaguars
Week 16: vs. Steelers
Week 17: at Colts
Texans Pick ‘Em Contest Best Bet: Week 11 vs. Cardinals
You’re going to have to wait until late in the season to find the best opportunity to take advantage of the Texans in our NFL Pick ‘Em Contest. The Cardinals rely heavily on their passing game, and their offensive line has real problems at both tackle spots. Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt could have a field day.
Texans Pick ‘Em Contest Top Fade: Week 13 at Titans
The Texans will be playing a second straight road game, this one coming on a short week after playing Monday Night Football at Baltimore. The interior of the Tennessee defense is special, and last year when these two teams played their lone meaningful game of the season, DeAndre Hopkins was held to a measly 4-yard catch. This matchup reeks of a stinker for the Houston offense.