Texans desperately need to improve red zone defense in 2020
For the Houston Texans to take the next step in their quest for a Super Bowl title, the defense needs to stiffen significantly in 2020 when it matters most.
Among playoff-qualifying teams from last season, only the Seattle Seahawks (398) allowed more points defensively during the regular season than the Houston Texans (385).
By comparison, the other 10 playoff teams had the following defensive point totals in 2019:
- Philadelphia Eagles (354 points allowed)
- New Orleans Saints (341 points allowed)
- Tennessee Titans (331 points allowed)
- Green Bay Packers (313 points allowed)
- San Francisco 49ers (310 points allowed)
- Kansas City Chiefs (308 points allowed)
- Minnesota Vikings (303 points allowed)
- Baltimore Ravens (282 points allowed)
- Buffalo Bills (259 points allowed)
- New England Patriots (225 points allowed)
While Houston’s defense was certainly impressive in holding Buffalo to just 19 points in the Wild Card round, they imploded in the Divisional Round against Kansas City. The Texans gave up a 24-0 lead on the road, allowing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to score 51 points when all was said and done.
Granted, Mahomes and the Chiefs are a special offense — they were last season when they won the Super Bowl, they will be again in 2020, and most likely, they’ll remain an offensive juggernaut for many more years to come.
That said, Houston needs to stiffen up considerably when it comes to their defensive prowess if they hope to keep things interesting in the AFC with the likes of the Chiefs and Ravens. Even within their own division, the Texans will have their hands full with the Titans and Colts unless they start battening down the hatches better in 2020 and beyond while on defense.
Improvement needs to start with red zone defense in 2020 for the Texans
Brandon Scott of SportsRadio610 astutely pointed out recently that the Texans ranked dead-last in red zone defense in 2019.
Simply put, that statistic is unacceptable.
Having a healthy J.J. Watt potentially make it through a full 16-game slate would obviously go a long ways toward ensuring Houston performs better overall on defense, but when your team finishes last in any statistic, it’s clear the problem extends well beyond just the absence of a single player.
Hopefully, the promotion of Anthony Weaver to full-time defensive coordinator helps right the ship in 2020. Something had to give after a steady decline in defensive production under Romeo Crennel — who still deserves his position as assistant head coach, but who rightfully lost his title as DC following the disastrous statistical production of his unit last year.
For the good of the Houston Texans and their quest to take that fabled next step in the postseason — and reach their first conference championship game at least, and ideally their first Super Bowl appearance — the team needs to improve their red zone defense significantly in 2020 and beyond.