As dark as things are now for the Houston Texans after ending their season with six straight losses and nine defeats in their final 10 games, the future remains bright. Bill O’Brien can’t control who gets hurt and he has no control over his fate as the coach of the Texans, but it would be silly for ownership to relieve O’Brien of his duties after injuries depleted the roster of the team’s best players.
The Texans were able to overcome early season-ending injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus by turning to an offense that was unstoppable under Deshaun Watson. O’Brien wasn’t sure what the position would bring at the start of the year and opted for Tom Savage to start the opener. But when the team failed to move the football, Watson came to the rescue. Watson’s first start came in Week 2 and his electrifying run produced the game-winning touchdown against Cincinnati.
After that the team was producing at will. Over the next five games the Texans scored 195 points with Watson throwing 18 touchdown passes in that span. But when Watson sustained a knee injury in practice prior to the Week 9 matchup with Indianapolis, the season took a drastic turn. Savage returned to the starting role and the offense just didn’t produce. Watson is expected back for the start of next season, but the team desperately needs a No. 2 option.
2017 Record: 4-12
2017 ATS Record: 7-9
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 7-9
Current Super Bowl Odds: N/A
Current Odds to Win AFC: N/A
Current Odds to Win AFC South: N/A
Week 17: Colts 22, Texans 13
ATS Result: Colts -5.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 41.5
It was the kind of game one would expect between teams that had a combined seven wins entering the contest. The Colts did just a little more to escape with the victory, handing the Texans their fifth straight ATS loss. Houston scored all its points in the first half and entered the break with a 13-7 lead. The offense gave away more points than it scored in the second half with T.J. Yates sacked in his end zone for a safety. The teams combined for just 459 total yards in the game.
Week 16: Steelers 34, Texans 6
ATS Result: Steelers -8
Over/Under Total Result: Under 45.5
The only highlight was a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch by DeAndre Hopkins, which prevented the Texans from being shutout. Otherwise it was all Steelers, who slapped a fourth straight ATS loss on Houston. Two turnovers led to 10 Pittsburgh points and a 20-0 halftime deficit. The lack of offense from the Texans allowed the under to cash for the fourth time in five games.
Week 15: Jaguars 45, Texans 7
ATS Result: Jaguars -10.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 39
Facing the league’s best defense with a third-string quarterback making his first start, the Texans weren’t in a good spot. The Jags made sure they paid for it. Houston couldn’t contain Blake Bortles, who tossed three scoring passes, and only a DeAndre Hopkins TD catch prevented the shutout. Yates did little against the Jags stifling defense and the Texans dropped their third straight ATS.
Week 14: 49ers 26, Texans 16
ATS Result: 49ers +1
Over/Under Total Result: Under 45.5
The loss of Savage and a critical fourth quarter fumble proved too much for the Texans to overcome as their season continues to get worse by the week. Savage exited with a concussion and Yates did well, throwing a pair of touchdown passes, the second giving Houston a 16-13 lead in the third. But the Niners responded and DeAndre Hopkins’ fumble in the fourth prevented a comeback in the ATS loss.
Week 13: Titans 24, Texans 13
ATS Result: Titans -7
Over/Under Total Result: Under 42.5
Houston took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter but gave it all back in the final 4:18 of the half. A Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal got the Texans within 17-13 in the fourth and they got the ball back with just under three minutes to play. Savage got them to the Titans 29 after completing a fourth-and-19 pass for 22 yards, only to have his next offering picked off in the end zone. Tennessee scored on a long run a few plays later to hand the Texans the ATS loss.
Week 12: Ravens 23, Texans 16
ATS Result: Texans +7.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 39.5
The Texans marched down the field on the opening possession and took a 7-0 lead on Lamar Miller’s touchdown run. They wouldn’t find the end zone again. Savage turned the ball over three times, including twice on Houston’s final two drives when the game was hanging in the balance. Houston held the Ravens to just three field goals over the final two and a half quarters which allowed them to cover the spread.
Week 11: Texans 31, Cardinals 21
ATS Result: Texans -2.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 38
Sparked by a pair of fourth quarter Freeman touchdown runs, the Texans overcame a deficit to win and cover for the first time since Watson was shelved for the year. Savage turned the ball over two more times, but he directed the offense and tossed a pair of touchdown passes to get the win. The Texans played better defensively, holding the Cards to fewer than 300 yards and intercepting two passes late in the fourth to seal the outcome.
Week 10: Rams 33, Texans 7
ATS Result: Rams +12
Over/Under Total Result: Under 45
Houston held the explosive Rams to just three first-half field goals and actually had a lead when Savage connected with Bruce Ellington on the team’s only score. But L.A. used a 21-point third quarter to put the game away and the Texans had no response losing its second straight game ATS and third SU. The teams fell below the closing total and the under is 3-0 in games started by Savage this season.
Week 9: Colts 20, Texans 14
ATS Result: Colts +6
Over/Under Total Result: Under 45
The Texans struggled to move the football with Savage running the show and lost outright as a 6-point favorite. Houston’s only points came on a fumble return until Savage got them closer with his first career scoring pass midway through the fourth quarter. They had a first-and-goal at the Indy 7-yard line with under a minute to play, but three incomplete passes and a fourth-down sack ended the game and Houston’s run of five straight over wins.
Week 8: Seahawks 41, Texans 38
ATS Result: Texans +6
Over/Under Total Result: Over 45
In a game that featured five lead changes in the second half, the Texans couldn’t overcome the last one. Watson connected on his fourth scoring pass of the day to give Houston a 38-34 with less than five to play and Marcus Williams picked off a pass on the next Seattle possession. But the Texans couldn’t sustain a drive, were forced to punt and Russell Wilson made them pay. Houston did cover the spread for a second straight game and the over was an easy winner, but they could’ve had the SU victory.
Week 7: BYE
Week 6: Texans 33, Browns 17
ATS Result: Texans -7.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 46
Watson continued his torrid start and the Texans overpowered Cleveland, easily covering the 7.5-point spread. Watson tossed three scoring passes, Joseph returned one of his picks 82-yards for a score, and the defense forced a safety during a 30-0 run that gave Houston control of the game. A late Browns touchdown allowed the final score to go over the closing total for a fourth straight game.
Week 5: Chiefs 42, Texans 34
ATS Result: Chiefs -2
Over/Under Total Result: Over 45
The loss of Watt and Mercilus definitely affected the defense as the Texans allowed 450 yards and easily cashed the over. Watson had the offense in gear throwing five touchdown passes, but a special teams breakdown proved deadly. The Texans got within 26-20 early in the fourth before allowing a touchdown pass and an 82-yard punt return to turn the game around. Watson’s fifth TD pass of the game with no time left made the final score closer.
Week 4: Texans 57, Titans 14
ATS Result: Texans +2.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 43.5
This was the most complete game of the season for the Texans, who improved to 3-1 ATS with their rout of the Titans. Watson was unconscious with his performance and dare we say Houston now has an offense. Watson accounted for five touchdowns while the Texans built a 21-0 lead. But the absence of Mariota in the second half with an injury allowed Houston to pull away after the break.
Week 3: Patriots 36, Texans 33
ATS Result: Texans +13.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 44.5
Despite a big game from Jadeveon Clowney, who had two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown, the defense couldn’t stop Tom Brady when it mattered. The Texans covered as an underdog for the second straight game, but lost when Brady tossed his fifth scoring pass late in the fourth quarter. With Watson looking more comfortable running the offense, the over was an easy call.
Week 2: Texans 13, Bengals 9
ATS Result: Texans +5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 38
It was far from a work of art, but the Texans got a win and that’s all that mattered. The team was shorthanded, particularly on offense with injuries to two tight ends and just three receivers playing. That made the use of Watson a key in the offensive game plan and he provided the biggest play, scoring the only touchdown on a 49-yard scramble. The defense did the rest, holding the Bengals without a touchdown to get the cover win. Points were scarce and Houston played below the total for a second time.
Week 1: Jaguars 29, Texans 7
ATS Result: Jaguars -5.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 38
The Texans trailed by 19 points at halftime and were never in the contest. They failed to cover the 5.5-point spread and, despite a low total, their lack of offense allowed the under to cash. The offense will be a point of emphasis moving forward and O’Brien was quick to yank Savage in the opener. Giving up 10 sacks and committing four turnovers isn’t going to win many football games and the Texans have firsthand experience.
Preseason Record: 1-2
ATS Record: 1-2
Over/Under Total Record: 2-1
While the Texans have struggled to manufacture wins outside of division play, they’ve owned the AFC South the last two seasons, allowing them to capture back-to-back division titles. Houston went 5-1 against AFC South competition last year with the only loss coming in the season finale after the title had already been secured. They also went 5-1 the year before and are 8-3-1 ATS against their division foes over the past two years.
Week 1: Texans vs. Jaguars, Sunday, September 10, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 2: Texans at Bengals, Thursday, September 14, 8:25 p.m. ET – NFL Network
Week 3: Texans at Patriots, Sunday, September 24, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 4: Texans vs. Titans, Sunday, October 1, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 5: Texans vs. Chiefs, Sunday, October 8, 8:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 6: Texans vs. Browns, Sunday, October 15, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 7: Bye Week
Week 8: Texans at Seahawks, Sunday, October 29, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 9: Texans vs. Colts, Sunday, November 5, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 10: Texans at Rams, Sunday, November 12, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 11: Texans vs. Cardinals, Sunday, November 19, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: Texans at Ravens, Monday, November 27, 8:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 13: Texans at Titans, Sunday, December 3, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 14: Texans vs. 49ers, Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 15: Texans at Jaguars, Sunday, December 17, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 16: Texans vs. Steelers, Monday, December 25, 4:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 17: Texans at Colts, Sunday, December 31, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
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