The 2016 NFL season is almost upon us. Teams embark on their mini-camp journey in mid-July and the Houston Texans look to come back with a strong showing in the 2016-17 season. The team finished on top of the AFC South last year and was one of the best teams in franchise history, so 2016 has an outlook of improving upon last year’s mishaps.
The team is expected to finish with 8 or 9 wins and second in the AFC South to the Colts. That’s according to the Vegas odds posted at Boyds Bets.
Below we’ll take a look at this years schedule, providing predictions and overviews of what we can expect from the team in each match-up. You can go to their official site if you want times and game channels.
The Houston Texans open up the season welcoming the Chicago Bears to NRG Stadium. The teams’ 2016 season opener will provide for a match-up that newcomer Brock Osweiler is familiar with. Osweiler defeated the Bears in Chicago last year when Peyton Manning was out due to injury. Osweiler looked poised last year and this year it’ll be a nice start for him out-of-the-gate to get his feet wet with his new team. In a rather defensive battle, I expect the Texans to take this one 21-17.
The Texans welcome the Chiefs in week 2. This is another fantastic match-up for the two defensive sides. The Chiefs run their offense through Jamaal Charles and if the Texans can stop the rushing attack, they could take down this strong AFC competitor. Look for Lamar Miller to make his presence known in the Texans backfield as the dual threat back could have his first big game for the team. Texans win this one as well 17-10.
The Texans travel to Foxsborough to take on the New England Patriots in week 3. The Patriots should still be without Tom Brady (barring a miracle) which creates for an intriguing match-up for the two young QBs going at it. Osweiler has more experience under his belt and I think that factor helps him overcome the Patriots defensive attack. Yet another close one, but Osweiler’s experience begins to show as the Texans beat the Patriots 24-21.
The first divisional game takes place as the Texans welcome the Titans to NRG. Mariota is going through his second year of play and having DeMarco Murray in the backfield adds to his protection and assets. The Texans added many offensive assets of their own this year and still have one of the best defensive players in history. I expect that to pay off in dividends. Texans 34 Titans 14.
On the week 5 slate the Texans travel to Minnesota for a shoot-out with the Vikings. Teddy Bridgewater started to come into his own last year and started showing strong signs of maturity. His efforts earned him the trust he needs from his teammates. A healthy Adrian Peterson playing against a team from his home state proves to be too much to handle for the Texans as they fall to the Vikings 27-20.
The Texans welcome their second division foe, the Colts, in this week 6 thriller. Andrew Luck continues to grow with the game and continues to dissect defenses. The Texans play owner to a rather stout defense and a defensive line that is as good as any across the NFL. Expect the Texans to get into Luck’s head and force some timely mistakes. Texans 24 Colts 17.
The first Monday Night Football competition pits Brock Osweiler against his old team as the Broncos play host to the Texans. There is some bad blood in the air and the Broncos will be taunting Osweiler all game long. I think the pressure gets to him in this one as his composure has been too steady up to this point. The Texans can’t overcome the reigning Super Bowl Champions in this one and fall to the Broncos 28-13.
The day before Halloween marks a visit from the Detroit Lions to NRG. Detroit has had it’s ups and downs and unfortunately the 2016-17 season marks a year of recovery for them. The departure of Calvin Johnson Jr. truly shows in this one as the Texans handily defeat the Lions 27-10.
Week 9 is a bye week for the Texans and it gives them time to recover before traveling to Jacksonville in week 10. Much like the defense gets to Luck in week 6, so to do they Bortles in week 10. Texans win 35-20.
The Texans travel to play Derek Carr and the Raiders. I think this game, that should be a rather simple task, becomes tough on Osweiler. I think he struggles against a budding Raiders defense lead by Khalil Mack. Mack plays sack master on this date and Carr shines leading the Raiders to a 24-17 win over the Texans.
The Texans play host to Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. Rivers is a veteran of the game and one of the top active quarterbacks still playing the game. Rivers passion for the game is commendable, but his last ditch efforts can’t lead him past another noteworthy performance by the Texans defense. Texans 17 Chargers 10.
The Texans travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers had a pretty solid season last year and with a slimmed down Eddie Lacy and a healthy offense, they look for a big season. Rodgers outlasts the defense on this one and Osweiler comes up short in this high scoring affair. Packers 37 Texans 27.
The Texans travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. Andrew Luck finds his groove in this one and outlasts the pressure from the Texans defense. Colts 24 Texans 13.
The Texans welcome the Jaguars to NRG Stadium. By this point in the year Jacksonville’s record doesn’t reflect positive results and they are playing for draft pick position at this point. Texans 42 Jaguars 21 in a landslide victory for Houston.
The Texans welcome the Bengals who are jostling for playoff position at this point in the year. Andy Dalton is finally playing like a veteran of the game and the Bengals just seem to want it more in this match-up. The Texans have already clinched a playoff berth at this point so a 30-16 loss doesn’t hurt them too badly.
Week 17 (and onward):
The Texans travel to Tennessee to take on Mariota one last time before the close of the season. Coming off of a loss to the Bengals has the team fired up and ready to go in this one. Texans 34 Titans 10.
The Texans make the playoffs and face off against the Steelers in the first round of playoff action. The Steelers look to be at full strength and Big Ben marks the clock striking on the Texans’ season. Steelers 32 Texans 24.
Without dealing with the circus that is Hard Knocks during the preseason, I see the team more focused to start the year and much improved.