2020 Houston Texans Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
Bill O’Brien is the perfect example of The Peter Principle.
For the uninitiated, the Peter Principle is the idea that people in any hierarchical structure will rise to the level of their incompetence. Basically, you move up the ladder until you finally get handed a job that you are incapable of handling.
For O’Brien, it appeared that NFL head coach was his level. He hasn’t been an altogether terrible head coach. He’s posted a 52-44 record in six years and led the Texans to four postseason appearances. Granted, O’Brien has accomplished that with talent superior than its accomplishments. And his tenure as offensive play caller has been inept at best. But the former New England offensive coordinator has proven that he isn’t a total incompetent as a headman.
As a head coach.
Instead of simply topping out skulking up and down the Houston sideline, O’Brien was promoted to de facto general manager last summer. And since taking over, he has made a breathtaking amount of terrible moves. It started with dealing Jadeveon Clowney for just a third round pick. That was followed quickly by a jaw-dropping deal to net Laremy Tunsil.
Those two head-scratchers were just the warm up. O’Brien made the offseason’s biggest move by trading DeAndre Hopkins, the best receiver in football, to Arizona for pennies on the dollar. He followed that up with absurd contracts for Tunsil, Randall Cobb and a confusing trade for Brandin Cooks.
And for a grand finale, O’Brien helped ink Deshaun Watson to a salary cap-busting four-year extension.
As the dust has settled, the reality is that the Texans are worse off now than they were 12 months ago. And it is obviously O’Brien’s fault.
That isn’t to say that Houston is going to fall off a cliff. Any team with Watson leading it is going to have a chance. And when they are healthy, the skill position crop of Cooks, Cobb, Kenny Stills, Will Fuller and David Johnson aren’t terrible. The issue is that those guys are so rarely healthy and most of them are past their primes.
The focus of the Texans offseason has been on their eye-popping roster decisions concerning the offense. However, Houston’s biggest issue heading into the season may be the defense. Last year the Texans were No. 28 in total defense and No. 19 in points allowed. Their secondary has sprung a leak, and leaders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus simply aren’t the players that they were four years ago.
Finally, there is the schedule. Houston will be thrown directly into the fire, facing defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City in a Thursday night opener. They get to follow that up with games against Baltimore and at Pittsburgh. Mix in games against the NFC North, and a crossover game against New England, and things don’t look bright for Houston.
The Texans are clearly the third best team in a four-team division. Indianapolis is the class of the AFC South, and Tennessee is better than Houston on both sides of the ball.
Houston has spent the entire offseason getting rightly railed in the media for their bizarre maneuvers. Like I said: they aren’t a better team this year than last. But I am not going to throw my money into a very public play. I like Houston to go ‘under’ their season win total. But this would not be one of my larger futures wagers, and it shouldn’t be one of yours either. This team is going to come close to this number. I’ll call it on the ‘under’ side, but tread lightly.
Take Houston ‘Under’ 8.0 wins.
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