Things aren’t always bigger in Texas – I mean, other than J.J. Watt’s record-breaking contract extension. The Houston Texans won the AFC South for the first time in 2011, enjoying their first playoff berth so much that they wanted to do it again. So they reloaded, and nearly ran the table in 2012.
2013 was a different story, however. Instead of building off a 2-0 start, the lethargic Texans tanked, losing all 14 remaining regular season games on their schedule, earning the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft instead of a spot in the playoffs.
The good news? The Texans have nowhere to go but up after that, and they have a favorable schedule to work with in 2014. After going .500 in the preseason against very formidable opponents, The Texans are unlikely to face strong opposition until almost halfway through the regular season, when they duke it out at home against the AFC South heavyweight Indianapolis Colts.
The Texans will then take the show on the road for a prime-time battle against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Upon returning home for a bye week, they will business with high-flying Philadelphia Eagles. I‘m not sold on Chip Kelly‘s squad from the City of Brotherly Love just yet. The Eagles can definitely hold their own within the NFC East, but name me a team that wouldn’t be able to do that. Outside of the division? The Eagles have had their fair share of problems.
The second half of the regular season projects to be a bit more challenging for the Texans as they face the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens at home. They then have to lock horns again with the Colts, this time on the road. At best, it’s going to be an interesting year for Houston, and that’s probably sugarcoating the inevitable.
When evaluating the Texans, it’s quite obvious that the interior offensive line is dangerously thin, and the situation doesn’t get much better under center. The Texans haven’t had a quarterback in longer than I can remember.
The ground game is secure with the presence of Adrian Foster in the backfield, and you have to like the draft selection of standout Jadeveon Clowney to pair with the battering ram that is Watt. D.J. Swearinger will provide much-needed support for the defensive line as well.
It’s a start, but scattered defensive personnel won’t be enough to cure the offense. Right now, Houston packs enough offensive punch to beat a D-3 collegiate program — and that might be giving the laboring franchise a little too much credit.
Final Prediction: 5-11