Are the Houston Texans capable of making the playoffs in 2014?


Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) yells as he is introduced prior to the game against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Forecast Special Edition publication by USA Today Sports poses a question that caught my attention about the 2014 Houston Texans.

The question they asked was:

"“Are the Texans the next team to go from worst to the playoffs?"

Basically, it is asking if the Texans will be the 2014 version of the Kansas City Chiefs, who went from 2-14 in 2012 to making the playoffs with a wildcard spot in the AFC in 2013.

Last season, the two wildcard spots went to the Chiefs, who were 11-5 and the San Diego Chargers, who went 9-7.

There were four non-playoff teams in the AFC last season who went 8-8.

So first, we must ask: can the Texans win at least eight games to get back to the .500 mark, much less make the playoffs?

Let’s look at the 2013 results by the Texans.

For the question of them first being able to be a .500 football team, I believe the Texans can be a .500 team for one reason … for as bad as they were last year, they lost nine games by seven points or fewer.

The Texans could have easily been an 11-win team, rather than a team that lost 14 consecutive games to end the regular season.
Their two wins came by a combined nine points, so even if they lost those two, but were still able to reverse their fortunes by seven points or fewer in those nine games, they could have finished 9-7 overall.

Of those nine losses by seven points or fewer, four were by three points or fewer, including a one-point loss to the Chiefs in Week 7.

So to answer USA Today’s question, yes, the Texans are capable of being a team that can go from worst to the playoffs, but I just don’t believe this is the season for that to happen, and here are three reasons why:

1. A questionable Andre Johnson — Let’s say Johnson does return to the Texans and does play for the Texans in ’14. I question how much he really wants to play in Houston anymore. Also, if Johnson does end up somehow not playing for the Texans … replacing a Hall of Fame talent like him is never easy.

2. Questions at QB — With a new offensive system being on the field this season for the Texans, that’s already a lot to overcome, but with the current uncertainty at the QB spot for the Texans, how much can we expect from the offense this season? The four QBs in the running for the starting spot are Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates and Tom Savage.

3. The health of Arian Foster — Right now in June, Foster seems to be 100-percent, but I want to know how well his back holds up for an entire season after that surgery. Plus, with the QB play still in question, my guess is the offense will rely on Foster more this season than in the past. Not to mention, if Johnson isn’t lining up at wide out for Houston … I don’t care how much the defense is improved, if the offense struggles more than it did last season, then it could be another long season.

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Then again … the defense of the Texans could help ease the workload of the Texans with their play, and maybe it will be enough to get this Texans team going back in the right direction.

The remainder of the offseason could set the tone for what could be either a great regular-season comeback story, or more of the same, but nothing in-between.

What are your thoughts on if the Texans can make the playoffs this upcoming season?