Texans Season Win Total Prediction
For at least a short period of time, Deshawn Watson and the Houston Texans were the talk of the NFL last year. Now healthy, can the Texans make a run at the AFC South crown and win at least nine games in the process?
Houston Texans Betting Odds
According to oddsmakers, the Texans' over/under for wins in 2018 has been set at 8.5, with the over carrying juice of 20/31 and the juice on the under sitting at 5/4. Houston is also 22/1 to win the Super Bowl and is 10/1 to win the AFC title.
The Texans didn't make any huge moves this offseason but they did draw praise for signing former Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu to a free agent contract. When healthy, Mathieu is a difference maker but health has been a concern for the majority of his career. Cornerback Aaron Colvin, receiver Sammie Coates, tackle Seantrel Henderson and guard Senio Kelemete were also among Houston's offseason transactions.
In the draft, the Texans didn't make a selection until the 68th overall pick. With that selection, they took Stanford safety, Justin Reid. Also in the third round, they nabbed Mississippi State offensive tackle Martinas Rankin and in the fourth, they took shifty slot receiver Keke Coutee out of Texas Tech.
Linebacker Brian Cushing was cut by the team and remains a free agent as of this writing. The only other noteworthy departure from the 2017 team is tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, who retired at the age of 26 due to concussion issues.
Houston Texans Season Win Total Prediction
Watson has now torn both of his ACLs (his right last year in the pros and his left while at Clemson). If you want to take the under based on Watson's injury history, I won't hold it against you. In fact, it might be the smart play with so many of Houston's key players coming off injuries from a year ago. The Texans have also been hyped this offseason, which often means a team is over-hyped by the betting public.
That said, if Watson does stay healthy, they should win at least nine games this season. Consider this: The Texans scored 33 or more points five times with Watson at quarterback last year and averaged 13 points per game in non-Watson starts.
The problem, besides health, is Houston's offensive line. The Texans will start second-year Julien Davenport at left tackle and Henderson at right tackle. Nick Martin struggled badly in 14 starts last year at center and former Saints swing offensive lineman Senio Kelemete is penciled in at right guard. Zach Fulton, formerly of the Chiefs, is slated to start at left guard. While the play of the offensive line couldn't get much worse than it was a year ago, the names above don't scream confidence.
Still, Watson's mobility can mask the offensive line's weaknesses in pass protection and he has enough around him from a skill position standpoint to make an impact week in and week out. He and DeAndre Hopkins showed great chemistry in a short period of time last year and tight end Stephen Anderson is an intriguing player. The running back position took a hit when D'Onta Foreman tore his Achilles last year and the running game as a whole will be a question mark (Lamar Miller is fine but he's hardly dynamic at this stage of his career).
Finally, after ranking 23rd in defensive efficiency and dead last in the red zone, the Texans should be much improved on that side of the ball. J.J. Watt is healthy (for now) and the additions of cornerback Aaron Colvin and Mathieu should help. The Texans also face one of the softest schedules in the league so again, getting to nine wins is absolutely doable.
Houston Texans NFL Season Win Total Prediction: Over 8.5