Houston Texans’ Playoff Hopes Rest In Watt And Hopkins


Two players stand out as the primary authors of the Houston Texans 2015 destiny. More than anyone else, they will be the main factors in guiding Houston through the adversaries on their schedule and becoming a team, built for the post-season. It will be up to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive end J.J. Watt to make significant contributions in order for head coach Bill O’Brien to dethrone the Indianapolis Colts and seize reign of the AFC South.

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To say the Texans have been busy this offseason in order to accomplish this would be an understatement. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal for the team is to be playing football in January. Simply put, for the Houston camp to achieve this and emerge a Super Bowl contender, Watt and Hopkins will have to come through big on both sides of the ball.

Let’s start with offense.

DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins spent the better part of his NFL sophomore year raising eyebrows as he surfaced for the Texans as a go-to producer on the field, racking up 76 catches for 1,200 yards and six touchdowns. While it’s common knowledge that Hopkins gave a glimpse of his untapped potential, the main concern at hand is will he be able to effectively replace veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson.

As the Texans painfully parted ways with the 12-year man who spent his whole career in Houston, the popular belief has been that the team will look to beef up the receiving corpse through offseason acquisitions and the upcoming draft, that is poised with a plethora of receiver talent. The front office signed both receivers Cecil Shorts  and Nate Washington to the team and it’s beginning to look more and more certain that they have placed their faith in Hopkins becoming their No. 1 man.

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With the two quarterbacks, Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer in competition for the starting spot, the job will likely depend on Hopkins’ ability to perform in order for the offense to be a consistent threat.

Assuming Hopkins is up to the task, the Texans will look to up the pressure on the defensive side of the ball. It has to be hard for J.J. Watt to have come up just short of the MVP award after an epic 2014 season but Clutch City will need the big man to have another disruptive 16 games for the offense to have a chance at figuring out who they are. The re-signing of cornerback Kareem Jackson and additions of safety Rahim Moore and nose tackle Vince Wilfork have given voice to general manager Rick Smith’s effort in equipping Watt to have something to look forward to, come August.

As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, Houston’s top priorities have to be:

  1. Consistently burden the opposing quarterback with J.J. Watt and Co.
  2. Developing a passing game second to none.

No matter what other moves Houston will make this year, Hopkins and Watt will be the centerpieces in the teams’ ultimate direction, for better or worse. It should be thrilling to watch.

Next: Can DeAndre Hopkins Replace Andre Johnson?