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Upward Turn or Crash and Burn?
This was a non-homer preseason look at the Texans 2009-10 analysis and record predictions
. Click at the bottom of this piece to see the revised projections.
NFL Predictions 2009
Houston Texans Season Preview - 8/27/09
Projected 2009 Finish (9-7)
3rd Place AFC South
Houston Texans 2009 NFL Projection:
The Texans finished strong last season, winning five of their final six games. As a result, they have become the preseason darlings of many NFL analysts. We're going to temper this enthusiasm just a bit by taking a closer look at these games... Houston beat Cleveland in week 12, a woeful Jacksonville team in week 13, a Packer team with no defense that finished 4 games below .500, a mediocre Bears squad, and of course the most impressive win was a home squeaker against Tennessee. Winning a close home game against a top division rival is not so unfathomable, especially since the Titans were looking ahead to the Steelers the following week, whom they absolutely crushed. The loss in that stretch was to the Raiders... Granted, you can only beat the teams you're scheduled to play. All we're saying is, just because the Texans finished (5-1), doesn't mean they automatically get penciled into the playoffs the next season.
There's no doubt Houston's offense is a juggernaut. They're stacked at receiver with Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and tight end Owen Daniels. Steve Slaton panned out tremendously at running back. And Matt Schaub, when healthy is an excellent quarterback. Hopefully Schaub can stay on the field for 16 games, especially since serviceable backup Sage Rosenfels has moved on to Minnesota.
The one issue with the offense is the ability to punch the ball into the end zone from up close. Steve Slaton has added some weight in an effort to help this cause. But realistically, the offensive line isn't built for straight ahead power running.
Although we project the Texans' offense to be potent overall, in order to become a playoff team, their defense will almost certainly have to finish higher than 22nd in the league.
Starting with their defensive line, the Texans really need someone else to step up besides Mario Williams... Surrendering over 120 rushing yards per game, isn't usually the sign of a playoff team. It's no wonder the Texans used their first two draft picks to address their defense, adding outside linebacker Brian Cushing out of USC in the first round, and defensive end Connor Barwin out of Cincinnati in the second round. They also added linebacker Cato June from Tampa Bay.
Houston's secondary grades as fair with Jacques Reeves, Dunta Robinson, Eugene Wilson, and Dominique Barber.
Houston schedule is 2009 is a story of streaks. First they hit a patch of tough games, then a patch of easier games, followed by another difficult streak, and so forth.
The Texans open the season against two solid defenses, home to the Jets and @Tennessee.
Starting in week 3, the Texans hit a stretch of what most analysts would consider to be five more winnable games on paper;
Jacksonville - Week 3
Oakland - Week 4
@Arizona - Week 5
@Cincinnati - Week 6
San Francisco - Week 7
Beginning in week 8, the Texans hit a stretch of tough competition; their bye is sandwiched in between during week 10.
@Buffalo - Week 8
@Indianapolis - Week 9
Tennessee - Week 11
Indianapolis - Week 12
Then they face another lighter stretch of opponents from weeks 13 - 15;
@Jacksonville - Week 13
Seattle - Week 14
@St. Louis - Week 15
And of course, closing the season with two more difficult games;
@Miami - Week 16
New England - Week 17
If the Texans want to make the playoffs in 2009, they need to continue what they were doing at the end of last season and take care of business in their winnable games, of which they have many in 2009. Their light schedule (aided by the demise of the Jaguars once stout defense) could help put the Texans over the hump this season. Otherwise, it will be up to their defense to play well down the stretch, as 6 of their final 9 games are against teams that project to be very good in '09.
Overall we're projecting a record of (9-7). Let's see Matt Schaub play a full season, and the Texans' defense improve before we forecast a playoff appearance.
Revisit this prediction page for any potential upgrades or downgrades to the 2009 Houston Texans season forecast & outlook. This projection will be "frozen" before the '09 season officially kicks off... Once the regular season begins, you can track rolling standings projections here (CLICK FOR REVISED RECORD PREDICTION).
Evidently, downward revision have been predicated on winnable games that were not won.