Can the Houston Texans avoid being the NFL’s worst team in 2022?
August 18, 2022
Expectations are low in Houston, but they’ll still be difficult to exceed
NFL Preview – Houston Texans
By Steve Quinne
Win Total = 4.5
Houston was one of the worst teams in the NFL last season, finishing with a 4-13 record. Featuring an offensive and defensive unit that both ranked near the very bottom of the league rankings, the Texans will look to sharpen up with head coach Lovie Smith.
Smith was promoted to head coach after being the team’s defensive coordinator last season under David Culley. While the team’s defense was one of the worst units in the league, Smith has plenty of head-coaching experience and can help navigate a team still searching for its identity.
Houston will rely on the arm of Davis Mills. The quarterback is entering his second season in the NFL and is the full-time starter for the Texans this season. He threw for 2,664 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season, posting a QBR of 35.5. He was bad, although there is some anticipation for him to sharpen up in his sophomore season.
The Texans addressed their defense by adding LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third-overall pick in the draft and Texas A&M offensive guard Kenyon Green at No. 15. While these two rookies will now turn this franchise around on their own, they are expected to be an integral part of the Texans’ nucleus.
As it stands, the Texans are not a favorite in any game on their schedule when looking at their look-ahead lines. This indicates oddsmakers are expecting Houston once again to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Last season, the Texans beat the Jags twice, while also posting two shocking wins against the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans.
This is a tough team to get a read on for an over/under play. Their schedule is rather tough with games against the AFC West. Still, they managed to pull a couple of nice victories a year ago, and they should be able to secure at least one win against Jacksonville if not two.
Houston should also be able to hang around in games against Chicago, New York (Giants), and perhaps Washington and Cleveland, depending on how the Deshaun Watson situation plays out. You also would think the Texans can get a win or two in a game that they “shouldn’t have won,” much like last season against the Chargers and Titans.
Houston is currently tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the lowest win total in the NFL, and for a good reason. Still, there could be some upside with this team.
Mills did not look good in the preseason opener, but it was his first game action of the season. Houston should be better on defense, and with Brandin Cooks on the outside along with Laremy Tunsil and Kenyon Green on the line, Mills should be in a position to at least play steady ball.
A Lovie Smith-coached team will focus on defense and shortening games. Houston has won four games in each of the last two seasons, and the Texans very well might land on four again this year.
Still, look towards the over here and have some fun with the Texans. They have a few favorable matchups against weak opponents and could steal a game or two over the course of the season. Roll the dice, bank on the progression of Mills and improvement from the draft.
Odds to Make the Playoffs = 10/1
While the Texans might go over their win total, this team will likely not sniff the postseason and will probably be picking in the top-10 of the draft once again when it is all said and done.
Sure, the 10/1 odds are enticing for them to make the playoffs, but their division is tough. They’d have to leapfrog the Colts, a team that had the most Pro Bowl players a year ago, and the Titans, the No. 1 seed in the AFC last season. That seems unlikely.
There’s just no way the Texans make the postseason as a wild card. The AFC is loaded and they aren’t going to jump that many good teams.
Davis Mills to Lead the NFL in Passing Yards = 200/1
Is it going to happen? No. That’s why the odds are what they are. But look at this future as a lottery ticket. It’s worth a small shot.
In 13 appearances a season ago, which included 11 starts, Davis Mills threw for 2,664 yards. That’s a respectable number for a rookie.
He’d have to likely double it to be in contention for the NFL passing title, which seems unlikely. But there are some things working in his favor.
The Texans figure to be behind in a lot of games, so Mills will have to chuck it all over the field. Marlon Mack is a good running back, but it’s not as though he’s elite; so Houston won’t completely build their offense around him. And Brandin Cooks is a dynamic player, giving Mills a potential big-time threat on the outside.
Is it worth a 200/1 shot? Yessir.