Houston Texans 2017 Season Simulation
The AFC South has been regarded as the worst division in football and in a lot of ways still is. The Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans made major moves to make playoff runs while the Jaguars are still working things out on offense. The Colts meanwhile are bracing for a write off year given the unknown health status of quarterback Andrew Luck. For the Houston Texans, their 2016-2017 season ended with a noble effort against the New England Patriots that fell short because of John Elway sleeper agent Brock Osweiler. This season the Texans rectified that problem by salary dumping Brock to Cleveland and gave up a second round pick to do so.
They traded up in the draft to select Clemson hero Deshaun Watson who will be the quarterback of the very near future. J.J. Watt returns from a back injury that derailed him last year and Jadeveon Clowney made the leap last year and looks to continue the trend. Whether Watson or incumbent Tom Savage lead the offense, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins must be thrilled he no longer has Brock over/under throwing him at every turn (plus he got paid).
For the city of Houston, this season takes on a bigger meaning as they are currently dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Harvey. If everything goes well this season, it could mirror the 2006 post-Katrina Saints in that fans are uplifted by a borderline magical Texans season. Their schedule is forgiving enough that a deep playoff run is not inconceivable.
Here is the week by week breakdown for the Houston Texans.
Week One (9/10) VS Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville presents a tough challenge for the offense as they’ve once again spent a lot of money on defense in Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Barry Church. The Texans offense will have a tough day especially Hopkins who will have to contend with second-year corner Jalen Ramsey. Fortunately, the Jaguars offense is still led by Blake Bortles so the defense shouldn’t have a problem. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette could pose problems but not enough to swing the game. Does Tom Savage finish the game or do we see Deshaun Watson enter the game?
Result: Win 24-13
Week Two (9/17) @Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are a team that will be confounding all year. They return virtually everyone at the skill position from last year but add rookie John Ross. Ross poses a tough challenge for the secondary especially given that A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert will be back on the field. Andy Dalton‘s line got considerably worse and the defense didn’t see much improvement. The Texans should be able to out score the Bengals but this one could easily be a low scoring slug fest.
Result: Win 21-17
Week Three (9/24) @New England Patriots
New England looks to be an absolute juggernaut this season. The defending champs added wide receiver Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore at corner. Brady should still be in top form and Belichick always does a great job against Bill O’Brien.
Result: Loss 17-31
Week Four (10/1) VS Tennessee Titans
This game is huge. The Titans are ready to make some noise in the AFC and the Texans are their biggest division competition. Marcus Mariota won’t be able to scramble as well against Houston’s defense but he should be able to find receivers all over the field. The Titans have beefed up their defense but Hopkins should be able to get open early and often.
Result: Win 27-21
Week Five (10/8) Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City and Houston are both in very similar positions. They both have win-now defenses and traded up to get their quarterback of the future. Houston took Watson and the Chiefs took Pat Mahomes. Both teams’ seasons hinge on when the rookie quarterbacks start. This game looks to be a fork in the road game for both teams.
Result: Win 27-24
Week Six (10/15) VS Cleveland Browns
As much of a gimmie as this game appears to be, the Browns look to be frisky this year. They’ve done a great job in hoarding draft picks and are building a young team. They aren’t ready to win now but they’ll at least make it interesting. The Texans should still be able to move the ball and could have a little trouble against Cleveland’s new and improved offensive line.
Result: Win 31-17
Week Eight (10/29) @Seahawks
Seattle is one of the toughest places to play and once again Seattle will trot out a top of the line defense which now features defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The Texans offense should struggle in this one but their defense will be able to keep Russell Wilson in check because the Seattle offensive line is still a work in progress.
Result: Loss 14-24
Week Nine (11/5) VS Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are basically writing this year off. Andrew Luck’s health is a big question mark and the Colts are still trying to clean up after former GM Ryan Grigson squandered numerous drafts. Luck could be back by this game and if he is this won’t be a complete rollover. That being said, Houston should be just fine.
Result: Win 35-17
Week Ten (11/12) @ Los Angeles Rams
Despite having an improved offense, the Rams line isn’t exactly stellar. Jared Goff is entering year two and there is a lot riding on him being something resembling competent. Houston should be able to get to him early and often. The Rams defense will be a tough match up but less so if Aaron Donald still isn’t back. **Update: All indications are that Donald will be back by Week 2.
Result: Win 24-10
Week Eleven (11/19) VS Arizona Cardinals
Arizona, like Houston, features a tremendous defense and an offense that is in flux. David Johnson could pose a huge problem for the Texans and if Carson Palmer can stay upright he could do some damage. The Texans could struggle against the Arizona front seven as well.
Result: Loss 24-27
Week Twelve (11/26) @ Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore comes into the season with a slew of injuries and quarterback Joe Flacco has an injured back. That doesn’t exactly go away and they have other injuries on both sides of the ball. The Ravens, however, are a tough team, especially at home.
Result: Win 27-7
Week Thirteen (12/3) @Tennessee Titans
The Titans could get their revenge at home. The line will play better at home and that’s good news for DeMarco Murray. Tennessee will need this game if they are to win the division.
Result: Loss 24-27
Week Fourteen (12/10) VS San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is currently undergoing a massive overhaul. Brian Hoyer will be running the offense for the time being and he’s competent. The Niners will have a frisky defense but scoring will come at a premium. The Texans should easily walk away with this one.
Result: Win 35-10
Week Fifteen (12/19) @Jacksonville Jaguars
Chad Henne will most likely be starting at this point but that won’t matter a whole lot. The Texans could struggle on the road as the Jags defense should be a little better at home. Most teams have a slip-up game and this could be one for Houston.
Result: Win 24-20
Week Sixteen (12/25) VS Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers will be a Grinch for Houston as their offense will burn the Texans secondary all day. Le’Veon Bell might struggle rushing but could have a great day as a receiver. The Steelers defense has also gotten better and this one could be for a first round bye.
Result: Loss 21-31
Week Seventeen (12/31) @Indianapolis Colts
Houston finishes off the season with an easy road win against the Colts. They will likely need the game as they could both be competing for a division title and possibly a bye. The Colts will have packed it in at this point.
Result: Win 35-7
The Houston Texans finish the season 11-5 and will be in the playoffs. It’s debatable whether they will be a wild card or a division winner depending on how the Titans do. Houston should be in for a deep playoff run.