Team Capsules: Houston Texans

August 21, 2023

A look at every NFL franchise heading into the 2023 season

© Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans are arguably the worst team in NFL history, even though they’ve only played 21 seasons as a franchise. They have just four playoff wins and have never made an AFC Championship Game, let alone a Super Bowl.

They’ve had a losing record 11 times and have won double-digit games in just four seasons. The last three years have been abysmal in Houston, as the team has gone 11-38-1 and didn’t win more than four games in 2020, 2021 or 2022.

But there’s a renewed hope, as the Texans have a rising star head coach in DeMeco Ryans and hopefully a young stud quarterback in C.J. Stroud. Let’s see if this new era will be one to remember.

What to like about the Texans…

  • Stroud was absolutely awesome in his two seasons starting at Ohio State. The No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft threw for 44 touchdowns in 2021 and 41 in 2022. He had just six interceptions in both campaigns and finished in the top-four in the Heisman Trophy voting each year. The Texans have high expectations for the young man, and if he can live up to them, he could finally solve Houston’s QB problem they’ve seemingly never figured out. 
  • Ryans made a couple of Pro Bowls as a player and rose up quickly through the coaching ranks once he decided to try his hand at it. He went from coaching assistant with the Niners in 2017, to linebackers coach from 2018-20 to defensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022. This past offseason, reports said the Broncos desperately tried to hire him before “settling” for Sean Payton. That’s how coveted he was; the Texans were lucky to land him. The 39-year-old should be able to connect with younger players. 
  • Running back Dameon Pierce had his moments as a rookie in 2022, carrying the rock 220 times for 939 yards and four touchdowns. He managed that in just 13 games. The former fourth-round pick out of Florida will be a huge part of the offense this season, particularly as Stroud gets more comfortable once he’s inevitably named the starter. The Texans also brought in veterans Devin Singletary and Mike Boone, so it’s a solid running back room that should see some success on the ground. 

What not to like about the Texans…

  • The receiving corps doesn’t have a single guy that will be taken high in any fantasy football drafts. It’s headlined by Robert Woods (who’s bounced around) and Nico Collins. Reports say Tank Dell is showing some promise in training camp and the preseason, but he’s still anonymous to 99 percent of football fans. Dalton Schultz is a known tight end from his time with the Cowboys, but tight ends aren’t supposed to be a team’s No. 1 threat unless their name is Travis Kelce. Stroud is going to have to get creative when distributing the football. 
  • The Houston defense gave up 379.5 yards per game last season, the third-most in the NFL and ahead of only the Vikings and Lions. The Texans also allowed 24.7 points per game, the 27th– best number in the league. J.J. Watt isn’t walking through that door anytime soon and perhaps their best-known defender is safety Jalen Pitre, who did have an impressive 147 total tackles and five interceptions. It’s a unit that will have to improve drastically for the Texans to even have a chance to sniff a .500 record.
  • For playing a last-place schedule, Houston still has some really tough games. The Texans face off against the Ravens, Steelers, Saints, Bengals and Jets, as well as having to play the Jaguars twice – and suddenly Jacksonville looks like a fringe Super Bowl contender. The Texans had absolutely no home-field advantage a season ago, going 0-7-1 at NRG Stadium. Every other NFL team won at least two home games except the Cardinals, who went 1-8 in the desert. That’s not a team you want to be grouped with.

Steve Quinne’s Pick: Texans under 6.5 wins in 2023 (-135)

Certainly, Houston isn’t making the playoffs or winning its division, despite the welcomed additions of Ryans and Stroud to eventually turn this thing around. But the key word is eventually, as this isn’t going to get better overnight and there will be a lot of growing pains. It’s kind of shocking to see the Texans’ total set at 6.5 wins, considering they haven’t even come close to that number since 2019. The juice is on the over (+110), but don’t get trapped into it. This is a four- or five-win football team, as there are going to be a lot of bumps in year one with a rookie coach and QB. Take the under 6.5 wins (-135), as this Texans team getting to seven victories is almost