9-7 (7-7-2 ATS), 2nd Place AFC South in 2009
The '09 season was a good news, bad news scenario for the Houston Texans. Good news: They finished above .500 for the first time in franchise history and finished in second place in the AFC South for the first time in the Gary Kubiak era. Bad news: They still missed the playoffs on the final week of the regular season. Good news: They found ways to beat all sorts of teams that they probably had no business beating in '09. Bad news: They still lost far too many close games down the stretch. Change could be on the way in Houston in 2011 if there isn't far more good news than bad news in 2010.
2010 Draft: The Texans really made no bones about what they were doing in the NFL Draft this year. They needed a defensive back to replace the departed DB Dunta Robinson, and they wanted to add depth to their core of running backs. To no one's surprise, in Round 1, they went out and drafted Alabama DB Kareem Jackson, and followed that up in Round 2 with Auburn RB Ben Tate. Keep a close eye on KR Trindon Holiday, as he can make a world of difference on special teams to Houston if used properly.
Offensive Outlook: Pop quiz, hot shots! What team had the best passing offense in the NFL in 2009? It wasn't New Orleans. Or Indy. Or New England. Or San Diego. That's right, it was Houston, with 290.9 yards per game. Unfortunately, where the team really struggled was in the red zone. Games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals were lost with the ball on the opposing one yard line. The Texans just didn't have the ability to punch out those final few yards to reach pay dirt on a regular basis. Tate hopes to help out in that department, especially after Ryan Moats departed for Minnesota. The offensive line, a unit that has been much maligned in the history of the Texans, is all of a sudden looking like a consistent strength of the team. Look for OTs Eric Winston and Duane Brown to have another solid year of protecting QB Matt Schaub.
Defensive Outlook: For a unit that has a former #1 overall draft pick (DE Mario Williams), two Defensive Rookie of the Year winners (LBs DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing) and now two other first round draft picks (DT Amobe Okoye and Jackson), expectations are high in Houston this year. Of course, Cushing will be out of the lineup for the first four weeks of the season after violating the league's substance abuse policy, but that shouldn't hamper the 'D' all that much. The team ranked 13th overall last season at 324.9 yards per game allowed, but coming in 17th in scoring at 20.8 points per game just isn't acceptable. Kubiak knows that this is the unit that really has to improve, especially in the offensive minded AFC South for the Texans to make it to the playoffs.
2010 Betting Outlook: Houston would have covered more spreads if its goal line offense was worth anything last season. The Texans have been the kings of close games through the years, which has made them a very difficult team to read. One thing was a consistent in '09, and that was their play on the road. Houston ultimately went 5-3 ATS, but a very consistent 6-1-1 for 'under' bettors as well. If the defense can continue to hold the fort away from Reliant Stadium, the Texans could be in for a big, big season.
All Odds for 2010 NFL betting season can be found at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Houston Texans Predictions: 10-6, 2nd Place in AFC South 2010 Houston Texans Schedule
Houston Texans Odds To Win AFC South: +350
Houston Texans Odds To Win AFC: +1400
Houston Texans Odds To Win Super Bowl XLV: +3000
Houston Texans Regular Season Win Total: 8 over -120
Houston should be in line for at least another .500 campaign this year. However, the ultimatum of a year ago will be enforced this season to a T. Owner Bob McNair told Kubiak that he was losing his job if the Texans didn't make the playoffs last year. Nine wins was apparently a good enough alternative. However, this year, it really is postseason or the unemployment lines for Kubiak, as this is the fifth year of his tenure in Houston. We tend to believe that the Texans have the horses to get the job done, though toppling the Colts in the AFC South is going to be too tough of a task.
Week 1 - Home vs. Colts
Week 2 - Away @ Redskins
Week 3 - Home vs. Cowboys
Week 4 - Away @ Raiders
Week 5 - Home vs. Giants
Week 6 - Home vs. Chiefs
Week 7 - Bye
Week 8 - Away @ Colts
Week 9 - Home vs. Chargers
Week 10 - Away @ Jaguars
Week 11 - Away @ Jets
Week 12 - Home vs. Titans
Week 13 - Away @ Eagles
Week 14 - Home vs. Ravens
Week 15 - Away @ Titans
Week 16 - Away @ Broncos
Week 17 - Home vs. Jaguars
Houston Texans Predictions: 10-6, 2nd Place in AFC South
2010 Houston Texans Schedule