2021 record: 4-13
2022 bye week: 6
Most impactful additions: DB Derek Stingley (first round), RB Dameon Pierce (fourth round), G Kenyon Green (first round), RB Marlon Mack
Most impactful departures: QB Deshaun Watson, QB Tyrod Taylor, S Justin Reid
Easiest part(s) of schedule: Well, are there really any easy parts of a schedule for a team coming off back-to-back four-win seasons?
If one is simply looking for a spot this team can win consecutive games and maybe make a run to the over 4.5 win total, then the best spot for that likely is in Weeks 10 and 11 against NFC East opponents at the Giants and home for Washington.
There also is a three-week stretch before the bye when Houston goes to Chicago in Week 3 and at Jacksonville in Week 5.
Toughest part(s) of schedule: Opening with Indianapolis and at Denver is tough, but the most brutal stretch where it would be a huge surprise if they win any games is the run from Thanksgiving to Christmas when they will travel to Miami, host Cleveland (in Deshaun Watson’s scheduled first game back), at Dallas, Kansas City and at Tennessee.
Then, after a New Year’s Day game against Jacksonville in their home finale, the Texans travel to Indianapolis, who could be playing for a division title.
Also, a three-week stretch from Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 (on a Thursday) against Las Vegas, Tennessee and Philadelphia could be tough to navigate.
Caesars over/under win total (as of Aug. 29): 4.5 – Over +100 / Under -120; Odds to win Super Bowl LVI +30000
Book it: OVER. First off before you question my sanity, this is not a team I will place a single cent on. There really aren’t any values here, unless you think they will win every game they are supposed to win (which ones are those?!?) and pull off one or two upsets.
However, quarterback Davis Mills seemed to improve down the stretch in 2021 as he was thrust into the starting role by the injuries to Tyrod Taylor. There is a new backfield behind Mills that should help the Texans climb out of the cellar in offensive rankings, but by how much? (Watch for rookie Dameon Pierce steal the starting tailback job from Marlon Mack.)
The receiving corps isn’t great, but it’s not the worst in the league, either, as Brandin Cooks is now a wily, well-traveled veteran at age 28.
First-round pick Derek Stingley brings much-needed help to the secondary, but losing safety Justin Reid to the Chiefs doesn’t help.
If this team can find a way to go into their bye week 2-3, they easily will surpass the 4.5 wins. However, they just as easily could be 0-5, especially with those two winnable games being on the road. And if they open up 0-5, they very well could be 0-9 going into the Washington game on Nov. 20. Just stay away from the Texans.
Projected finish: 5-12
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