Always on the cutting edge of sports number crunching, the fine folks at PFF put together a best- and worst-case scenarios for every AFC team ahead of the 2021 NFL season the other day. While their worst case scenario was actually a bit rosier than most, particularly those who’ve predicted H-Town will capture the 0-17 brass ring first, their predicted best isn’t as optimistic as the battle red Kool-Aid drinkers would like.
10th percentile outcome: 3-14
How they get there: Things are even bleaker than they currently appear. Davis Mills quickly replaces Tyrod Taylor because Houston needs to evaluate the rookie before the 2022 NFL Draft. Mills doesn’t appear to be the answer at quarterback as pre-draft concerns over his lack of mobility, decision-making and lack of experience only gain validity. The Texans defense doesn’t have the talent to run defensive coordinator Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme, either. Notably, a defensive line that collectively ranked dead last in PFF grade last season (47.0) only gets worse after losing J.J. Watt.
90th percentile outcome: 8-9
How they get there: The combination of Taylor and a crowded running back room gives the Texans a surprisingly competent rushing attack. Buffalo ranked third in EPA per run play with Taylor at quarterback from 2015 to 2017. Meanwhile, Brandin Cooks quietly puts up another 1,000-yard season at wide receiver.
The offseason additions of Desmond King and Terrance Mitchell help provide some more stability at the cornerback spots alongside Bradley Roby on defense. And young players along the defensive line, such as Charles Omenihu (52.1 PFF grade in 2020) and Ross Blacklock (30.2), take a step forward.
In a league where there aren’t usually dramatic differences between the best and worst teams, where seasons are won and lost on injuries, freak bounces, and poor officiating more than actual team performance, one could make an argument for the Texans to overachieve in 2021. However, as we’ve all seen, having someone commanding the sideline with poor decision making is hard for even an MVP caliber player to overcome, and David Culley isn’t foreshadowing any improvements over Bill O’Brien in that arena.
How many wins do you think the Texans will get this season?
How many games will the Texans win in 2021?
This poll is closed