NFL Preview- Houston Texans
Continuing on with the AFC South, we head to Texas to look at the Houston Texans. The Texans began the season 2-0 before losing 14-straight games and earning the first overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Houston suddenly went from a possible contender to rebuilding mode in need of finding a quarterback. Even with that need Houston took defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the top pick.
The question for this team is the long-term answer at QB with the departure of Matt Schaub. They signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the short-term answer with young Casey Keenum also returning to the team. They drafted Tom Savage to become the long-term answer, but plan to ease him into the top position.
Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins are set as the top two options at wide receiver. The hope is for Keshawn Martin to solidify the third WR option. Owen Daniels is gone at tight end, so the Texans are banking on Garrett Graham stepping up to fill those shoes.
Arian Foster returns as the top running back, but Ben Tate left to become the top man in Cleveland. 32-year old Ronnie Brown was signed to step in as the RB to give Foster a breather and step in as the starter if Foster gets injured again. William Powell, Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes, and Toben Opurum will battle for the third spot.
Clowney was drafted to help the pass rush on defense but will need to learn to become a 3-4 linebacker instead of the 4-3 defensive end he was in college. J.J. Watt returns as the face of the defense, which should still be a tough defense to face. Brian Cushing will try to return from another major knee surgery to again lead the middle of the defense. The biggest question on defense is will the secondary hold up and stop being the weak link.
Let’s breakdown Houston’s 2014 season:
Week 1- Houston begins the year home against Washington. Robert Griffin III has a new head coach, but one that will open up the offensive attack. Texans begin 0-1.
Week 2- The Texans head to Oakland and face their former QB Schaub. The duo of Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden will outdo Foster’s output for the win. Houston remains winless, 0-2.
Week 3- They head to the Meadowlands to take a New York Giants in transition. The Texans make enough plays to get the win. They improve to 1-2.
Week 4- They head back home to take Buffalo. Watt and Clowney get E.J. Manuel a few times and Houston gets the win. They are now 2-2.
Week 5- Houston goes to North Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys. The offense led by Tony Romo makes the big plays. The Texans drop to 2-3.
Week 6- They head back home but have to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Indy wins big in the first match. Houston is now 2-4.
Week 7- Houston heads north to Pittsburgh next. Roethlisbeger connects for a couple of touchdowns with Antonio Brown for the win. Texans now 2-5.
Week 8- Houston next heads to Tennessee to face their division foes. The home team takes the first match-up. They go to 2-6.
Week 9- They next host the Philadelphia Eagles and that non-stop offense. The Texans lose their fifth in a row heading to their bye week. Houston now 2-7.
Week 10- A much-needed week off to regroup.
Week 11- They head to Cleveland and get a much-needed win coming back from their bye week. Now 3-7.
Week 12- They face Cincinnati at home, but that makes no difference. Bengals win big. Texans drop to 3-8.
Week 13- Houston host the Titans in the return game. Home team wins it again. Houston improves to 4-8.
Week 14- The Texans next head to Jacksonville to meet the Jaguars. In this match-up of rebuilding teams, the Jaguars have more work to do. Texans now 5-8.
Week 15- After winning three out of four games, they head to Indianapolis and end their two-game win streak. They fall to 5-9.
Week 16- They head for the last two games, but face Baltimore first. The Ravens have their way with Houston. Houston now 5-10.
Week 17- They close out a tough year against Jacksonville and earn the season sweep. Texans finish the year at 6-10.
Without a reliable QB the Houston Texans will have a long season– even with weapons like Foster, Johnson, and Hopkins to get the ball to. The defense may be able to keep most games close, but that secondary is likely to give up some huge plays to cost them.