NFL Predictions: The Houston Texans Are Poised for Their Greatest Season Ever
The AFC South, as of right now, is one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. Three of the four teams have either a rookie or second-year starting quarterback. Three of the four teams are also currently rebuilding or "revamping" their rosters.
The only team in that division that has a real shot to go to the playoffs, or have any sort of measurable success, are the Houston Texans. By simply looking at the state of the other franchises in the AFC West, it can be safely assumed that the Texans will most likely win the division.
What truly separates a great team and a good team is how they perform in inter-divisional and inter-conference play. The Texans open up the season with some very tough opponents before their first bye week. The toughest teams the Texans face before their bye week are the Jets, Broncos, Packers and Ravens.
Fortunately, the Texans play the Ravens, Jets and the Packers at home. I believe that the Texans will be able to beat the Jets and possibly the Broncos. Their record going into their bye week, assuming that the Texans take care of business against their divisional foes, is going to be 5-2 or 6-1 at best. At worst, I see the Texans at 4-3, but that is a more remote possibility.
For the final stretch of the regular season, the Texans face three reasonably tough road games against the Bears, Lions and Patriots. I find that the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions pose as bigger threats to the Houston Texans than the New England Patriots.
The Bears' biggest threat comes not only from their defense, but also their revamped and vastly improved offense with Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. It's a strong possibility that the Texans could lose to the Bears, especially considering how terrible the turf is at Soldier Field.
The Texans should probably be able to beat the Lions, because most of their defensive line will likely be suspended for either off-the-field conduct or trying to sucker punch Aaron Rodgers.
They should also be able to beat the Patriots because of their Super Bowl hangover, and for the simple fact that New England doesn't have much of a defense. Expect Houston to go 2-1 against those teams, and perhaps lose one divisional game at the end of the season when the AFC South has been wrapped up.
All in all, the Texans are poised, at worst, for a 10-6 season, and at best, a 12-4 season. Regardless, the Texans should be more focused on getting a first-round bye as opposed to struggling to get into the playoffs. The AFC Championship may even be on the horizon. If they succeed this season, then the Texans are going to become the dominant force in the AFC South for the foreseeable future.
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