Yesterday, I wrote about which teams are most likely to improve and regress in 2019. The teams I picked to improve are San Francisco, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay; while the numbers say New York (G) and Carolina should as well, I just didn’t love their offseason enough to go all in on it. The teams I picked to regress are the Los Angeles (R), Miami Dolphins, Dallas, Los Angeles (C), and New Orleans. This is all just from looking at the lucky stats and this year’s offseason.
If you want to dig deeper on your own, the table is below. Here is the direct link to the table if you really want to sift through it. And here’s the Grantland article from wild and crazy Bill Barnwell if you want to know more about the numbers themselves. Read it. It just may change your life.
The notable exception from yesterday’s article was any discussion about your Houston Texans, since this is a Houston Texans site and all. The Texans, as of right now, are just too confusing. I need better numbers. I need to think and read more. I still don’t know if they’ll regress in 2019. I need to watch their offensive line and secondary during the preseason. I’m trying my best, Susan! But I’m still a coward!
The numbers indicate the Texans should regress. They improved by seven games in 2018, but this was expected after having the drop-off they had in 2017 thanks to everyone being injured and Tom Savage fumbling in every game...remember that? LOL! I’ll never forget.
The Texans went 6-5 in one score games in 2018. They started the season 0-3 in such contests, losing after a failed late comeback versus the Patriots, then to the Titans and Blaine Gabbert after a fake punt went for touchdown and Dean Pees masterminded how to stop the offense, and finally to the Giants after Eli Manning threw a bunch of wide open crossing routes against Houston’s terrible secondary. After that, the Texans bounced back and went 5-2 in such games, a major reason for their season-saving improvement. In addition to all of this, the Texans had a turnover differential of +13, second best in the NFL. Houston also played the fourth easiest schedule in the league to boot.
This offseason, the Texans didn’t do enough to improve their football team in free agency and the draft. But this is still a talented team with elite talent. They can stave off impending doom if Deshaun Watson makes another leap, which he can do, especially if the Texans can configure their offensive line correctly in Week One instead of throwing Watson on top of a water bed that constantly readjusts to his sleep paralysis nightmares. They also need Bill O’Brien to let Watson develop and grow more as a quarterback. He’s a dynamic talent. Let him throw downfield! He’s really good at it.
On defense, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney have to stay healthy and play great every week. If they don’t, the season is over. If Watt and Clowney do play at their best, Houston should have a top five run defense again, and the pass defense should improve. The secondary should be better; the pass rush can be better if Romeo Crennel can better utilize Watt, Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus. They’ll need that improvement to combat the horde of elite and competent quarterbacks they will face in 2019.
Really, all I’m trying to say is that everything points to the Texans being a worse team in 2019. As of right now, I’d put them at around 9 wins, a number that can shift dramatically if Watson makes a leap, O’Brien gets aggressive, the offensive line gets figured out, Watt and Clowney stay healthy, Mercilus is resuscitated, and if the secondary moves work out.
That’s a lot of ifs. So many ifs. The numbers point against all those ifs happening, just as Houston’s offseason does. It’s just hard to bet against top talent being a playoff contender before the solstice even begins.