As the NFL Regular Season draws near and is just days away now, Football Season is officially here. I am going to break down the Houston Texans season and talk about a few different things going on with them. The AFC South is up for grabs this year so we will see who is going to contend with the Texans for the division lead. The Texans have won the division last 2 years in a row, and 4 times in the last 6 years. They have become a legit AFC South Powerhouse now.
The Texans open up the 2017 season with playing Jacksonville Week 1. After the devastation from the recent storm Hurricane Harvey, it was unclear if the Texans would play and open up the season in Houston against Jacksonville. Rick Smith and the Texans have said though that the game will be played in Houston, so hopefully, the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener! The Jaguars were kind enough to offer to switch their Home spots with Houston and take week 1 in Jacksonville and the Texans take week 15 in Houston instead of Jacksonville, but the Texans gratefully declined as reported. I still think it was a very nice gesture of the Jags, especially them being a division rival as well.
After Week 1 against the Jaguars, the Texans go on the road for 2 games at Cincinnati and New England and then coming back home for a 3 game series against the Titans, Chiefs, and Browns before their Bye week in Week 7. This six game stretch of games to start off the season will really test how well the Texans are going to start off the season, especially with an early season showdown against New England in Week 3. After the Bye week in week 7, the Texans have 6 of their remaining 10 games being on the Road and those games being against those of Seattle, LAR, Baltimore, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis. Three of those road games against division rivals, so this schedule will be quite a challenge for the Texans. Their four home games in that last 10 game span are against Indianapolis, Arizona, San Fransisco, and Pittsburgh.
A big question going into this season for the Texans is how will the QB play be? The Texans cut 3rd string quarterback Brandon Weeden before final roster cuts bringing the Texans to carry only two quarterbacks on the depth chart now, Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson. A very interesting decision by management to go with only two quarterbacks, but apparently the Texans have a lot of faith in just Savage and Watson. Savage is going to start off the season as the starting quarterback, but his play will determine if he keeps the job for the whole year. Deshaun Watson is gunning at his heels for a chance to come in and lead, but he is patient and composed as a rookie QB learning behind the starter should be. Both I feel will be able to get the job done.
The Texans brought back 4 key starters before the last round of cuts by extending DeAndre Hopkins, Jay Prosch, Andre Hal, and C.J. Fiedorowicz. DeAndre Hopkins is the star of the group as he is the star Wide Receiver for the Texans. His extension was for 5 years, worth $81 million, $49 million guaranteed which makes his guaranteed money the most of any Wide Receiver in the league. That contract extension is very close to J.J. Watt‘s (6 year $100mil, $50 mil guaranteed), so it shows the Texans are investing in their future and their superstars. Hopkins has put up great numbers each year in the league since his rookie season in 2013 and was in the last year of his rookie deal this year. He has also had 10 different quarterbacks since being a rookie so he has shown he is worth the extension they gave him. The next big piece for the Texans to lock up will definitely be Jadeveon Clowney now.
The Texans Defense will be as stronger as ever this year as well, as they have a healthy J.J. Watt coming back and opposite side him they will also have Jadeveon Clowney. This is the first time these guys will take the field together, both being healthy at the same time. The Texans Defense was ranked number 1 at one point last year without J.J. so him coming back will only make us stronger. We lost a key member in the secondary with losing A.J. Bouye to the Jaguars, but I feel the Texans will still have a very dominant defense. Whitney Mercilus, Benardrick McKinney , and Brian Cushing will be a strong linebacker core again for offenses to deal with as well. Rookie Zac Cunningham will be another linebacker being thrown in the mix as he has shown great progress and had a good preseason as well.
With the uncertainty of Andrew Luck for the time being and the inconsistent play of Blake Borltes during the preseason, I think a healthy Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans have the best chance at giving the Texans a run for their money this year in the AFC South. I think the Titans are upcoming, but still have little ways to go. I think that Mariota is a great young QB though, and he will make sure his team is in the hunt at least and try to keep them in the running for the division. I feel that Indianapolis and Jacksonville have too many holes and areas to fix that won’t make them contend as well with Houston and Tennessee. I still see the Texans winning the Division for the 3rd year in a row but it will be a tight race though. Great quarterback play and strong defensive play are the two big key factors for teams in the AFC South this year as they are all gunning for each other.
The Texans have won the last two years, so you know the other three teams in the division will be trying hard to dethrone the Texans this year. I think Tom Savage will do a solid job and lead the Texans with DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller anchoring the offense and scoring points. I feel the defense will be a top ranked Defense again anchored and lead by J.J. and Clowney. I have a lot of confidence in this team and what they will be able to do this year. The AFC South will definitely be a shoot out this year, so let’s see who will come out on top? Go TEXANS!