Houston Texans (6-10 SU, 6-10 ATS, 3rd Place in AFC South)
The Houston Texans have always been that, “Yeah, but” team in the NFL that has always seemed like next season is “the season.” However, is this really the year that Houston gets into the second season?
The joke with the Texans last year is that they had a 14-2 offense and a 2-14 defense. This is a fairly safe assessment, especially from an offensive standpoint. QB Matt Schaub broke all sorts of team records by throwing for 4,369 yards, while RB Arian Foster, a second year undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, rumbled for 1,616 yards and accounted for 18 TDs.
The only question that the offense is going to have this year is whether or not the loss of FB Vonta Leach, the lead blocker for Foster, is going to really be that big of a deal. However, we tend to believe as long as Schaub stays healthy, that this will be an offense that ranks in the Top 10 in virtually every single major category, especially behind an offensive line that is improving with each passing game.
Defense is a totally different story. This year, the defense will be run by Wade Phillips, a man who is a fantastic coordinator historically and a terrible head coach. Houston is switching back to the 3-4 after several years in the 4-3. Adjusting the personnel could be difficult, but there are definitely a lot of new faces coming in to help out.
The two middle linebackers, arguably the most important men in the 3-4, will hopefully stay healthy this year. LB DeMeco Ryans and LB Brian Cushing only played a few games together due to injury, but they really could be one of the best linebacking tandems in the game if they are together.
The secondary has always been the Achilles Heel for the Texans, and for the first time, they really have added some big time pieces to the puzzle. Moving FS Glover Quin away from the cornerback position in favor of the newly acquired DB Johnathan Joseph might be the best move that the organization has ever made, while putting Quin next to the also newly acquired SS Danieal Manning was a genius move.
DE JJ Watt will immediately step in up front, but thanks to DE Mario Williams moving to outside linebacker, the rest of this defensive line is suspect. Still, the back seven looks refined at this point with a slew of first round draft choices, and the hope is that this unit is what can get this unit to the next level.
Don’t be shocked, with the rest of the crew in the AFC South seemingly taking steps in the wrong direction, if this indeed is the year that the Texans make it to the playoffs.
Houston Texans 2011 Predictions: 10-6, 1st Place AFC South
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.