Preseason is over, and Week One kicks off Thursday night with the Bears taking on the Packers. The Texans wait until Monday night to kick their season off against the Saints in the Big Easy. After the drama of Jadeveon Clowney as well as the whirlwind of deals Houston made a couple of days ago, we can now shift back to discussing football. A lot of people have chimed in on social media regarding how the Texans will fare this season, but here is how I predict the season will go. I will start with the first eight weeks, then finish this two-part series with the second half of the season.
The first half
Week One at New Orleans
My prediction: The Texans essentially have a new roster following their recent trades, so it will be interesting to see how quickly things come together for the new-look Texans. On the Saints side, Monday night will be the first game at the Superdome since they lost to the Rams in the NFC title game.
The energy of the Saints crowd is always off the charts, so if the Texans want a real chance to win, they need to silence the crowd early and keep them quiet.
Because this is the Saints’ first game since the NFC title game, and given how that game ended, I believe the Saints are going to come out angry and determined to defend their home turf. After that game, it really doesn’t matter what opponent they face; I expect the Saints to come out breathing fire.
Unfortunately, the Texans happen to be the opponent. And after the flurry of trades, things may come together immediately for Houston. The Texans will be in the game, but I see the Saints coming out of halftime with a couple of big plays both offensively and defensively to get the crowd roaring. New Orleans will pull away from Houston, 38–24.
Texans’ record: 0–1
Week Two, home against the Jaguars
My prediction: Like the Saints, after getting embarrassed in the playoffs, I see the Texans coming out in their home opener with a purpose. The AFC South has gotten more competitive; however, with Andrew Luck retired, the division is Houston’s to lose.
Jags fans are eager to see how Nick Foles performs for them in 2019, he has folks thinking they can win the division, but pump the brakes. The last time Foles left Philadelphia, he struggled, throwing 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 starts (11 with the Rams and one with the Chiefs). In fact, Foles even contemplated retirement, thinking he had lost his love for the game, prior to leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title in 2017, and rescuing their season last year.
This is a division game and it will be close, but Houston has the better quarterback in Deshaun Watson. And even without Clowney, the Texans still have a good defense, which will play better at home. The Texans take this one, 27–20.
Texans record: 1-1
Week Three at the Los Angeles Chargers
My prediction: This game has been 50/50 for me since the schedule was released. It is a road game, but the Chargers don’t have much of a home-field advantage. They do have a monster pass-rushing duo in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa; but Houston’s no slouch on the pass rush as they have Watt and Mercilus.
This game will be won up front. The offensive line that can keep the opposing defense from wrecking the game is going to be victorious. Both of these were playoff teams a season ago, even though it is just Week Three, this battle could determine a possible playoff bye down the road.
I see the Texans pulling it out late, 27–24.
Texans’ record: 2–1
Week Four, at home against the Carolina Panthers
My prediction: The Texans will begin their early-season two-game home stand on the right foot as they beat the Panthers 27–10. The biggest reason is not knowing how well Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will play following his offseason shoulder surgery.
Texans’ record: 3–1
Week Five, at home against the Atlanta Falcons
My prediction: We may see some fireworks in this one. Both teams have very good offenses, and both have very good quarterbacks. In the O’Brien era, there are usually at least two games each season where things go wrong in specific ways: the Texans look unprepared, or they simply let the game get away from them. Unfortunately, this will be one of those. Atlanta beats Houston, 42–17.
Texans Record: 3–2
Week Six, at Kansas City
My prediction: There is a lot to look forward to in this matchup, as it will be the first regular-season meeting between Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, in what could be the birth of the next Manning-vs-Brady rivalry. This should be a fun back-and-forth game. Like Week Three against the Chargers, this game could be another postseason tie-breaker, determining which team gets a bye and which plays Wild Card Weekend.
It’s an intriguing matchup, but until the two teams meet, the Texans have the better defense. Houston comes up with a big stop late in the game and prevails 34–31.
Texans’ record: 4–2
Week Seven at Indianapolis
My prediction: It sucks as a football fan to see Andrew Luck, who is a special talent, retire early. But the Colts still have enough talent around Brissett to stay competitive in this division. And the Texans often struggle to cover wide receiver TY Hilton, even though they see the guy twice each season.
After a big win in Arrowhead against the Chiefs, this matchup feels like another potential letdown game. Since there is no Andrew Luck, the Texans should win this game; however, I think they’ll goof it up, and the Colts will stun the Texans, 24–17.
Texans’ record: 4–3
Week Eight at Oakland
My prediction: The Texans have not played the Raiders since ousting Oakland in the wild card round in the 2016 season. Things have changed for both squads, and assuming the Texans have not lost any key players to significant injuries, the Texans will win this game 34–17.
Texans’ record: 5–3
That is my take on how the first half of the season can go for the Texans, but don’t go anywhere: Coming next, I’ll dive into the second half of the season.