The Houston Texans won the AFC South in 2019 and reached the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. They blew a 24-0 lead against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it would appear that was a sign of things to come. Head coach and GM Bill O’Brien traded DeAndre Hopkins in the offseason and the 2020 season was a disaster. O’Brien was fired after an 0-4 start and the team finished the season 4-12 while holding no first or second round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft due to the Laremy Tunsil trade.
The offseason saw the team hire David Culley as head coach and Nick Caserio as GM. The team signed running back Phillip Lindsay and cornerback Desmond King to fill out both sides of the roster. However, the biggest addition this offseason could prove to be quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Houston Texans Super Bowl 56 odds: +20000
The Texans 2021 prospects likely revolve entirely around what happens with quarterback DeShaun Watson. The quarterback asked for a trade in January, but then the spring brought multiple allegations of sexual assault via civil suits. There had been discussions of a settlement but that appears unlikely and this could end up going to trial.
Discovery has begun and Watson is not scheduled to be deposed until February 2022, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The NFL is conducting its own investigation and has yet to announce any kind of discipline or sidelining of Watson. It seems a pretty good bet he does not play in 2021, but we don’t know for sure.
All that is to say, any assessment of the Texans prospects is best considered with Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback. He’s a capable option, but a significant downgrade from Watson. The Texans are tied with the Lions for the worst Super Bowl odds, so it’s not an easy case making the longshot case.
The addition of Lindsay gives the backfield some serious depth as he joins David Johnson, Rex Burkhead, and Mark Ingram. This team could build a stout rushing attack behind this group, potentially making life easier for Taylor and the passing game. On defense, the team threw a whole bunch of darts, with the most notable being the signing of Desmond King. They’re hoping that quantity of signings will result in at least a few turning into solid additions. They need to improve from last year’s 30th ranked defense and considerable roster turnover could help.
The Texans would need just a little bit of help outside of their own roster to have a shot. The Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts are nearly co-favorites to win the AFC South, but both have plenty of questions. The Titans are a little more stable than the Colts, and Carson Wentz could go south in a hurry. If the Titans stumble, the division could be open for a surprise winner. Once you earn a playoff berth, it’s wide open in January and February.
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