The 2016 Texans combine a revamped offense with their highly rated defensive corps in search of another AFC South title
After starting the 2015 season 1-4 SU/ATS, the Texans pulled things together and earned a home playoff game against Kansas City. They would rather not talk about the outcome of that contest but there is a new QB in town and the Texans are ready to prove last year’s 7-2 run down the backstretch was no fluke.
LAST YEAR’S RECORD & 2016 NFL FUTURES
Win-Loss: 9-7 SU and 9-7 ATS
Over/Under: 7-7-2 O/U
Noteworthy: Teasing the Texans “Under” in a 10-pointer during the 2015 season produced 15 winners out of 17 games (playoffs included). Since 2011, they are 86-percent effective in this strategy (12-72-1 O/U) — highest of all NFL teams during that span.
HC Bill O’Brien knows a thing or two about offense, given the five years he spent in New England (2007-11). It didn’t take a Patriot-PhD to realize the Texans offense needed a tuneup and it started at quarterback, with Brock Osweiler signed to a four-year deal. Houston also spent its first four draft picks on offense and tweaked the O-Line. One way or another, this passing game has to rank better than 22nd, where we had it finishing 2015.
Lamar Miller replaces Arian Foster as the face of the Texans run game and if Miller can stay healthier than Foster has been of late, he could be a huge benefactor from the Texans’ new passing attack. Miller has played 16 games each of the past three seasons and when his teams are passing well and able to carry 25-plus times, he is 13-1 SU and 11-3 ATS (career).
TEXANS BOTTOM LINE: SACK MASTER
JJ Watt is the star of a defense that ranked top 10 in rushing, passing, scoring and QB sacks. He’s registered double-digit sacks in four-straight seasons and even when he doesn’t take down a passer, the Texans are 16-15-1 ATS. The problem for Houston has been against teams that had above average offense AND decent pass protection (allow fewer than 2.5 sacks per game).
League wide, teams that are good in both categories have a 66-percent ATS record dating back 25 years (more than 600 plays) when they shutdown a strong pass rush.
Circle games against the Bears (Week 1), Pats (Week 3), Raiders (Week 11) and Bengals (Week 16) as spots where the Texans could struggle.