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Houston Texans Betting Predictions – Texans Look To Win AFC South

Posted by Tony Bryant on 6/27/2012 5:29:14 PM

In most sports betting situations, NFL teams aren’t able to overcome the loss of two of their top playmakers then somehow still win a division title and clinch a playoff berth. That makes it that much more surprising that the Houston Texans finished on top of the AFC South for the first time in 2011, when wide receiver Andre Johnson and defensive end Mario Williams weren’t available for most of the year. The Texans’ coaching staff maximized its talents and did everything right to win their first division title in the franchise’s 10-year history, and while Williams left the team via free agency, there is still a lot of talent left in Houston as they look to get back to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Head Coach: Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator: Rick Dennison
Defensive Coordinator: Wade Phillips
Owner: Robert C. McNair
Stadium: Reliant Stadium
Capacity: 71,500
Super Bowl Wins: 0

Offense

With Johnson out for most of the season, and starting quarterback Matt Schaub also missing time, Texan’s head coach Gary Kubiak turned to the team’s running game and got everything that he could out of the running game. Running back Arian Foster proved his dominance by becoming just the fifth rusher in NFL history to hit over 1,000 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving in the same season, and Houston looks to have another keeper in Ben Tate, who just missed the 1,000 yard mark in his rookie season. With Johnson back, the Texans will be able to stretch the field again in the passing game, as the Pro Bowl receiver adds that other dimension to the vertical attack. While TJ Yates got some valuable experience as the starter for Houston’s final regular season games and in the playoffs, he will go back to the No. 2 role behind a healthy Schaub. Time is running out for the 31-year old to deliver on his potential and play a full 16-game season at a high level, and if Schaub doesn’t get the job done this year, the team could decide to go in another direction. The weapons are there for Schaub to excel, now it’s just about execution.

Grade: A-

Defense

The transition from the “4-3” to the “3-4” was expected to take some time for the Houston defense under coordinator Wade Phillips, but the Texans looked good on that side of the ball from day one, and even the injury to Williams couldn’t stop them from finishing ranked second with the best online sportsbook. Williams is gone for good now, but the Texans seem very comfortable with JJ Watt and Antonio Smith at the ends on the defensive line, with team MVP Brian Cushing back at the strong-side linebacker spot after recording a team-high114 tackles last season. Cushing was an absolute monster under Phillips, and will need to continue to play at a high level with former inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans another piece that moved on in the offseason. The Texans got a solid return from their investment in cornerback Johnathan Joseph, whose play allowed Phillips to do a lot of the different things that he wanted to do in different situations. Joseph is capable of locking down a defender in one-on-one man situations, and if Phillips can get a little more out of Kareem Jackson on the other side, the result could be Houston boasting the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

The Texans’ drafted a kicker for the first time in franchise history this past offseason, adding Groza Award winner Randy Bullock in the fifth round of the NFL draft, and then signed a veteran punter who can take care of his own in Donnie Jones. The one area where Houston can be better is on the kick and punt returns, where Danieal Manning and rookie Keshawn Martin are sure to get a ton of looks in offseason camps.

Grade: B-

Prediction

The Texans will need to come out of the gate flying to have a chance to repeat as division champions, taking advantage of teams that didn’t make the playoffs a year ago in five of their first six weeks, and then finishing off the year against two teams that were absolutely awful a year ago, with meetings against the Indianapolis Colts on either side of a week 16 home date against the Minnesota Vikings. Houston has the talent on both sides of the ball to be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2012, it’s only a matter of putting all those pieces together and making it work.

Projected Record:

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – vs. Miami (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – at Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET)
Week 3 – at Denver (4:15 PM ET)
Week 4 – vs. Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
Week 5 – at New York (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 6 – vs. Green Bay (8:20 PM ET)
Week 7 – vs. Baltimore (1:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – BYE WEEK
Week 9 – vs. Buffalo (1:00 PM ET)
Week 10 – at Chicago (8:20 PM ET)
Week 11 – vs. Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET)
Week 12 – at Detroit (Thursday, 12:30 PM ET)
Week 13 – at Tennessee (1:00 PM ET)
Week 14 – at New England (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Week 15 – vs. Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 16 – vs. Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)


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