Houston Texans

Houston Texans

Coming off a bad year

Last year's 4-12 season was the first losing season the team has had since 2013. Having made the playoffs the prior two seasons, the year was a major disappointment for the Texans, who had a lot of hope after 2017 draft pick Deshawn Watson started the season out strong before tearing his ACL, which put him out for the season.

To make matters worse, the team lost defensive end JJ Watt in game 5 of the season, further hampering their lineup.

The difference between the Texans with Watson and without Watson is remarkable. In his six games as starting quarterback, the Texans averaged over 34 points per game and had a record of 3-3. Without him, the average was 13 points per game and the Texans played 1-9 football.

So, with the understanding that Watson is going to be healthy again this year, the Houston Texans Betting odds are back on the rise. Our NFL sportsbook has them as the favorite to win the AFC South.

Of course, a lot will depend on Watson staying healthy. So far, he is scheduled to return for training camp, so starting the season should be no problem at that trajectory. With the Texans betting odds in the balance, you can be sure that all eyes will be on Watson's recovery.

With Arms Wide Open

Other than Watson himself, nobody on the Texans suffered more due to the quarterback's injury than the wide receiver corps. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller were both set to have career years through the first quarter of the season before Watson went down.

Hopkins was looking to have a great season, as he on pace for 106 catches for 1,452 yards and 17 touchdowns before Watson's injury. Instead, Hopkins finished the season with 96 catches for 1,378 yards and 13 touchdowns. Still good, but those extra touchdowns could have swung some games for the Texans.

Fuller meanwhile was a second-year player in 2017, just getting his feet wet when Watson went down. He was only able to play four games with Watson at quarterback, but they showed instant chemistry, hooking up for two touchdowns in a 57-14 win over the Titans in Fuller's first NFL start. They would go on to connect for 5 more touchdowns in the next three games.

Additional support

NFL games are not won on passing alone, so to provide some support for their QB and WRs, the Texans front office went to work improving their offensive line and secondary as well. The signed cornerback Aaron Colvin from the Jacksonville Jaguars and safety Tyrann Mathieu to that end.

Mathieu is a former Pro-Bowler and first team All-Pro. He ended last year with 78 total tackles, two interceptions and one sack with the Arizona Cardinals. Colvin is coming off his first full season with the Jaguars, having played in all 16 games and recording 45 tackles plus an interception in the playoffs against the Buffalo Bills.

The Texans still have a hole to fill at left tackle, however. Last year they rotated several players through that position and settled on Julien Davenport. With protecting Watson being a prime concern for the Texans, the sooner someone steps up to confidently fill that role the better.

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