The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the recovering/promising Houston Texans.
2017 in a nutshell: They’re recovering because they lost eight of their last nine games without quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt last season, but there’s promise because Watson and Watt are healthy again and they scored at least 33 points in each of Watson’s last five games.
What’s different: Again, Watson and Watt are healthy.
Why they could be awesome: Did we mention Watson and Watt are healthy?
Why they could suck: Watson is a mobile quarterback who might not be totally the same just 10 months removed from major knee surgery, while Watt is no guarantee after missing eight games the last two years.
Major additions: They also signed highly-talented safety Tyrann Mathieu to a team-friendly, prove-it contract, added solid nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin and brought in veteran offensive linemen Seantrel Henderson, Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete.
Major losses: Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz was forced to retire due to concussions.
Breakout watch: In a perfect world, offensive tackle Julién Davenport would have redshirted as a rookie. The raw product of Division I-AA Bucknell wasn’t ready. But he’s had a strong first full offseason and looks more comfortable as he acclimates to the starting left tackle job. The 6’7″, 320-pounder has it in him.
Position to watch: There’s been a shuffle in the secondary, with veteran corner Kareem Jackson joining the Honey Badger at safety and high-ceiling third-round pick Justin Reid factoring in as well. Throw in slot specialist Colvin alongside another veteran in Johnathan Joseph and another first-round pick in Kevin Johnson and there’s a lot of pedigree and experience back there.
Prediction: I’m sure Watson will stumble from time to time in his return, and I’m concerned about Watt. That said, this team has more potential than anyone else in that division and I think they’ll pull through.
10-6, 1st place in the AFC South