NFL: Why the Houston Texans Will Make a Deep Playoff Run

The Houston Texans are the epitome of what it means to have a competent quarterback in the NFL. As a whole, the Texans are a quality team with a very good defense, respectable offensive line, good skill position players, but lack a quality quarterback. Tom Savage, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallet, Bryan Hoyer, TJ Yates, Case Keenum, and Brandon Weeden have all started for the Texans since Matt Schaub held the job from 2007-2013. What is amazing is that the Texans have made the playoffs the past two seasons rotating quarterbacks like mechanics rotate tires. Three years and eight quarterbacks later the Texans thought they found a quarterback in Brock Osweiler. They signed the former Bronco to a four-year seventy-two million dollar contract. In fourteen games Osweiler threw sixteen picks and averaged 5.8 yards per pass attempt. Alex Smith of the Chiefs (who is known for checking the ball down) averaged 7.2 yards per pass attempt. This offseason the Texans pulled an NBA move and salary dumped Osweiler to the Browns and included a second-round pick in the deal. To solve the quarterback conundrum Houston traded two first round picks to move up and select Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Personally I believe Watson was the best quarterback in the draft; he was a three-year starter that went to back to back National Championship games his sophomore and Junior year and had outstanding games against Alabama that had eleven defensive picks in the 2016 and 2017 NFL draft (plus several more coming up in the 2018 draft).

Watson has the best supporting cast out of all the first round picks (Trubisky and Mahomes) and should win the starting job early in the season (If not earlier). The Houston offense is very similar to that of the Clemson Tigers last season. Clemson had a clear cut number one receiver in Mike Williams; Houston has DeAndre Hopkins. The Tigers had a speedy receiver in Ray-Ray McCloud; The Texans have Will Fuller. Artavis Scott served as a shifty slot receiver and Braxton Miller was drafted last year to serve in that role. Wayne Gallman was an underrated collegiate running back last year; Lamar Miller is an underrated NFL running back. If Bill O’Brian can incorporate some of the spread elements that Clemson used last season then Watson should adapt to the pro game.

Defensively the Texans have four pass rushers that could have at least five sacks next season. JJ Watt returns from injury should register at least ten sacks, joining Watt are emerging pass rushers Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney, and Benardrick McKinney. A fearsome pass rush is essential playing a division featuring Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota. The Texans were the number one ranked defense in terms of yards per game last season at just over three hundred yards per game and second in passing yards. The loss of corner AJ Bouye hurts, on the other hand, Houston has depth in the secondary.

Schedule Wise the Texans have the Jaguars twice, the 49ers, and the Browns which should all results in wins. Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Arizona games are all winnable games. Winning two out of three is very plausible. Houston will probably split divisional games against Tennessee and Indy. That is eight wins; two more wins and the Texans are in the playoffs. With a nasty pass-rush (Only team to really put pressure on Brady in last season’s playoffs), an offense that has enough weapons to ease the transition to a rookie quarterback should lead to a deep playoff run for Bill O’Brien and the Texans.

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Tom Hardy

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