The 2008 Houston Texans finished the regular season with an 8-8 record and once again missed the playoffs. In their 7-year history the Texans have never made the post season NFL Playoffs. The bright spot for the Houston Texans is they finished the year winning 5 of their last 6 regular season games. The problem that has been hampering this franchise is the play of its defense as once again the Texans gave up too many points as opposing teams averaged 24.6 points per game against them. Turnovers were costly last season as the Texans finished with a –10 turnover differential ranking 29th in the league. Sports betting oddsmakers have set the 2009 Houston Texans regular season win projected total NFL betting line at 8 wins.
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The Houston Texans play in the AFC South so scheduled with be two games against the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans are a mere 6-12 against divisional opponents over the past 3 seasons. The AFC South must play the NFC West this season so the Texans will hit the road against the St Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals with home games to the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. The AFC South must play the AFC East this season so that means home games against the New England Patriots and New York Jets with road games against the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. As the third place team in the AFC South last season the Houston Texans must play the two other third place teams from the AFC so the Houston Texans will be at the Cincinnati Bengals and will play home to the Oakland Raiders.
Matt Schaub is the Houston Texans #1 quarterback and in 11 games passed for 15 touchdowns but threw 10 interceptions. Schaub must protect the ball better as he fumbled 10 times in 2008. Schaub averaged 276 yards through the air in each game started. The Texans possess big play receiver Andre Johnson who had 8 touchdowns and a 13.7 yards per catch average last season. There is good depth in the receiver position with Kevin Walter and Andre Davis. On the ground the Texans found much needed improvement by adding Steve Slaton last season. Ryan Moats and Chris Brown give the Texans nice depth behind Slaton. Brown averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season. For the Texans to improve on turnovers their offensive line must play better and reduce its amount of sacks allowed.
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The Texans must get better on defense and improved by adding USC Trojan linebacker Brian Cushing as their #1 draft pick and Cincinnati Bearcat defensive end Connor Barwin with their second pick. Former 1st round pick defensive lineman Mario Williams has had 26 sacks over the past two seasons. In addition to Brian Cushing the Texans signed in free agency veteran linebacker Cato June to help the corps. The secondary must improve and it’s been the Achilles heel of the defense for several years with the Texans. The unit has given up big plays over the years. The Texans secondary allowed twenty-four touchdown passes in 2008 ranking 26th in the league. Other than starter Dunta Robinson the Texans appear to once against be very vulnerable in their secondary and a year away from improvement. The Texans 2010 draft and free agent money must address this area. Three of the Texans 7 draft picks came from the secondary position but those picks came in later rounds. Glover Quin, Brice McCain and Tony Nolan were acquired through the late picks and are prospects at best.
And now to my Selection:
The Texans are moving in the right direction as they improved their running game in 2008 and addressed their defensive line and linebacking corps in 2009. The secondary gives up big plays and is in need of turnover. The Texans couldn’t fix everything on defense this year and are a year away from competing for a playoff spot. The Texans aren’t ready to beat up their division and expect to split against the NFC West and AFC East at best. Because the AFC South will get the better of the Texans take the Houston Texans under 8 wins.
Selection: Play the Houston Texans under 8 wins for the 2009 NFL Season.