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Houston Texans Betting Odds – NFL Football Futures

Houston Texans Betting Odds – NFL Football Futures

For years, fans and critics have been picking the Houston Texans as the next “breakthrough” team. Last season the club fell well short of expectations, winning just six games.

But with some changes on defense, is Houston officially ready to make The Leap?

A look at the numbers:

Last season – 6-10
Projection this season – 9-7
Texans Super Bowl XLVI Odds – +2500
Texans 2011-12 AFC Odds – +1000

The Texans boast one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. They ranked third in yardage last season, and all the key parts are back for another tour of duty. Arian Foster was last year’s surprising new star, as he led the NFL in rushing with 1616 yards.

Foster added 18 total touchdowns, and he’s looked just as impressive during limited preseason action so far this season.

There’s no reason to believe Foster won’t once again dominate opposing defenses, though he may get a few less carries.

Second-year back Ben Tate returns after missing last year with an injury, and he’s looked sharp as well—giving Tate some handles will reduce wear and tear on Foster.

The passing game is just as good. Matt Schaub threw for 4370 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing 63.6 percent of his passes—and was considered somewhat of a disappointment.

How many teams would love to have those kinds of numbers and be dissatisfied? His best target is Andre Johnson, who may well be the best receiver in the NFL. Johnson (1216 yards in 13 games) is an elite playmaker, and his life will be even easier with the return of tight end Owen Daniels, who missed time last year with an injury.

Throw in Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones at receiver, and Houston is stacked.

On offense, anyway. Defense is another story. Houston allowed the fourth-most points in the NFL last year, which crippled the team’s playoff hopes. The Texans owned the NFL’s worst pass “D”, something that’s expected—or at least fans are hoping—to improve in 2011.

Wade Phillips has been signed as defensive coordinator, and there’s potential for major steps forward with him helming that side of the ball. Say what you want about Phillips as a head coach, but he’s always been a great coordinator; he knows his X’s and O’s as well as anybody.

Phillips will have a few new toys to play with. Houston signed former Bengals cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who automatically becomes the team’s No. 1 cover man. Joseph may not get the publicity of some of the NFL’s other top corners, but he’s still an excellent improvement over anything the Texans have had over the past several years. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

But Joseph alone won’t be enough to save the secondary. Houston also spent a couple of draft picks on cornerbacks, including Miami’s Brandon Harris. Harris has played well throughout training camp and the preseason, and it looks like he’s close to locking down the nickelback role.

Houston also wisely used the draft to fortify the defense, spending its first five picks on defenders. Defensive ends J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed are expected to help give the pass rush some depth, though some pundits believe Reed was a reach with the 42nd overall pick in the draft.

They’re needed to deliver a push on the line since top-rusher Mario Williams is moving to linebacker. Williams has 44 sacks in his past four seasons—including nine a year ago—so switching him to a new position is quite risky. So far, though, Williams has looked relatively comfortable in his new spot.

Another major key on defense will be the return to form of Brandon Cushing. Cushing missed the first four games of the season with a suspension. Perhaps that derailed his training, because Cushing ran out of steam over the final few weeks of the season.

He made just 13 total tackles during the final three weeks of the year; to put that into perspective, Cushing racked up double-digit tackles six different times in his rookie year alone. That’s the Cushing Houston needs if the defense is truly going to improve.

HOW IT STANDS NOW:

The offense is loaded… but is the defense ready to get better? Phillips is a proven coordinator, so we’re betting there’s at least some improvement. The Texans might need Indianapolis to stumble if they’re going to sneak into the playoffs, however.

Season Win total Prediction: 9-7

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About Ian Van Den Hurk

Ian Van Den Hurk has covered amateur and pro sports for years, including a successful run handicapping anything from football to mixed martial arts. Looking for more sports betting tips and expert sports handicapping articles from Ian V? We've got your back...


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