In 2019 the Texans offense, led by the Michael Jordan of football in Deshaun Watson, scored 378 points, good enough for 14th place overall in scoring offense across the league. Houston gained 5,792 yards, which put them in 13th place for total yards with a 362 yard per game average.
The defense gave up 385 points, ranking 19th in the NFL. They surrendered 6,213 yards, averaging 388.3 yards per game, good (bad?) enough for 28th best.
Normally when a team gives up more points than it scores and loses more yards than it gains, it ends up with a sub .500 record. Not the 2019 Texans, who finished the season at 10-6 (.625), capturing first place in the AFC South and advancing to the second round of the NFL Playoffs.
With the addition of track star Brandin Cooks, “good hands” running back David Johnson, and one of the best slot receivers in the game in Randall Cobb, it’s easy to assume Houston’s offense should do better this season. Especially when taking into account the projected improvement of Laremy Tunsil, Max Scharping, Tytus Howard and the cohesiveness of the offensive line as a whole.
The defensive side of the ball doesn’t look quite as rosy, as Houston seems to have taken a subtraction by subtraction approach to the offseason rebuild with the loss of D.J. Reader, Johnathan Joseph, and Tashaun Gipson without any real evidence of a starter-quality addition at any position on that side of the ball. Sure, they spent significant draft capital on defenders, but it’s hard to expect Ross Blacklock, Jonathan Greenard or John Reid to make a major impact in their rookie season, particularly with an abridged offseason training program forced on teams by COVID-19.
With that being said, where do you see Houston’s 2020 offense and defense landing when all is said and done? Logic tells a tale of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
We’ll go out on the first limb and predict:
The 2020 Houston Texans will have a top ten offense.
With Deshaun Watson ranking sixth on the best deep passers list and the sheer speed of his wide receivers, the Texans look capable of putting up points in chunks and taking yards like an old fashion land grab. Anyone old enough to remember the Oakland Raiders Mad Bomber days, or the Air Coryell Chargers, or the St Louis Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf should be salivating thinking of just what Watson can do with this batch of speedsters.
When the lights are brightest, Deshaun Watson performs ⭐ pic.twitter.com/howlsizsxk— PFF (@PFF) July 27, 2020
The second limb: The other side of the ball is the poor getting poorer:
The 2020 Houston Texans will have another bottom five defense.
A fully healthy, in-his-prime J.J. Watt could put a team on his back and carry them places few others could. A prime J.J. Watt had a much better defense around him than 2020 Watt. Gone are Vince Wilfork and Reader, Brian Cushing, Joseph, Andre Hal, Jadeveon Clowney, and the other guys who could clean up what fell from Watt’s table. While Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney are two of the best linebackers the Texans have ever had and Justin Reid is already the best safety, the same can’t be said for many of the other starters. If new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver can put Whitney Mercilus in the right places at the right times, Merci should rise again, but the rest of the defense looks thin, especially if Watt suffers another significant injury.
Give us your predictions in the comments section.