It is not often that a team finishes a season with a 4-12 record and is perceived to have a great chance to reach the following year’s Super Bowl. However that is exactly what is happening with the Houston Texans. Bovada currently has the Texans at 10-1 to reach the Super Bowl. These are better odds than every other team in the division.
A question must be asked. Why do the Texans have relatively good odds to reach Super Bowl LIII?
The return of Deshaun Watson
Yes. Deshuan Watson. Watson only appeared in seven games as a rookie (six starts), but was sensational during his brief time. Completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns. Watson also rushed 36 times for 269 yards and two touchdowns. This includes the 49 yard rush against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.
The belief is that Watson can return to his form as a rookie and lead the Texans offense at the same or better level than he did in 2017. This is not out of the question. Watson is a dynamic play-maker who can change the outcome of a game in just one play. Another season in Bill O’Brien’s offensive system should allow Watson to grow and develop more and become even better.
However there is a concern. Mainly with his knees. Watson’s season-ending injury was an ACL tear, the second of his career. It could make some wonder if Watson will ever return to his form as a rookie or if he can avoid the series of events that derailed Robert Griffin III’s career.
J.J. Watt’s return to the Texans defense
J.J. Watt also suffered a season-ending injury last season. Watt’s injury was detrimental to the Texans defense and resulted in Houston being one of the league’s worst pass defenses. A cornerback can only cover for so long until a receiver will break open and that is just what happened last season in Houston. With Watt returning the pass rush will be more effective and should result in the Texans having one of the league’s better defenses.
Honey Badger to the rescue
In addition to an improved pass rush, the Texans will have better coverage on the back end. Tyrann Mathieu is now in a Texans uniform and will be patrolling the secondary. When healthy Mathieu is one of the league’s best defensive backs and can change a game in an instant. Adding Mathieu to the Texans secondary with a pass rush that should be 100 percent can be a lethal combination.
Success is dependent on Texans health
As with all teams the health of the Texans will determine their success. How last season unfolded is a perfect example. Season-ending injuries to Watson, Watt, Whitney Mercilus, C.J. Fiedorowicz and D’Onta Foreman had catastrophic effects on their record. It is not hard to imagine how good Houston could have been if they all stayed healthy. With most of the aforementioned names returning (Fiedorowicz retired), it will be easy to get a good idea of what could have been last season. Apparently the potential the Texans showed last season is exactly why they have the best odds to reach the Super Bowl in their division.