HOUSTON TEXANS 2022 WIN PREDICTION

BY ADAM GREENE

One day, when it finally suits the NFL, they will actively force some owners to sell their teams. When enough of the power brokers get together, guys like Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft and Stan Kroenke, and tire of these turd covered anchors dragging the league down, you’d think that the McNair family will be right up there with Dan Snyder and Jimmy Haslem as the first owners to get tossed out the airlock.

The McNairs are still in control for now and proved it last season by not hiring Louis Riddick, the man their own hiring agency recommended for their vacant general manager post and instead brought in Nick Caserio. Then, they made what looked like, at the time, the worst coaching hire of 2021 when they brought in David Culley, the Baltimore Ravens passing game coordinator and architect of the worst passing attack in the NFL, to be their head coach. It turns out, of course, he wasn’t the worst hire. That honor went to Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As all that was happening, their Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson was demanding a trade. Something Houston didn’t seem to interested in until Watson was accused of making inappropriate sexual advances to more than two dozen women he coaxed into massages. It was a whole thing.

So Watson sat and Tyrod Taylor took over as the starter, before getting hurt and replaced by rookie Davis Mills out of Stanford. Somehow, as insane as it sounds even now, the team still managed to win four games in spite of fielding the worst roster in the NFL. And all four victories were won handily, with the closest being a 22-13 win over the eventual No. 1 seeded Tennessee Titans.

Houston swept the Jags by a combined 67-37 score and knocked off the Los Angeles Chargers 41-29, a defeat that ultimately cost LA a trip to the playoffs.

Mills started 11 games and played in 13, completing 66.8 percent of his passes for 2,664 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Rex Burkhead led the team in rushing with 427 yards and three touchdowns with 186 yards receiving. Brandin Cooks was the only legit NFL level skill player on the team and he caught 90 passes for 1,037 yards and six TDs. For his sake, I wish they’d have traded him in the offseason.

The defensed finished No. 27 in points allowed and 31st in yardage allowed. Johnathan Greenard led the team with eight sacks. No one else had more than four.

HOUSTON TEXANS

Last season: 4-13

Odds: Over 4.5 wins (-130), Under 4.5 wins (+100)

2022 NFL Draft: Derek Stingley, Jr., CB, LSU (Round 1), Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M (Round 1), Jalen Pitre, DB, Baylor (Round 2), John Metchie III, WR, Alabama (Round 2), Christian Harris, LB, Alabama (Round 3), Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida (Round 4), Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford (Round 5), Teagan Quitoriano, TE, Oregon State (Round 5), Austin Deculus, OL, LSU (Round 6)

2022 Additions: Blake Cashman, LB (trade), Steven Nelson, CB (free agent), Mario Addison, DE (free agent), AJ Cann, OG (free agent), Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB (free agent), Kamu Grugier-Hill, OLB (free agent), Any Janovich, FB (free agent), Rasheem Green, DE (free agent), Ogbonnia Okroronkwo, OLB (free agent), Dare Ogunbowale, RB (free agent), Kyle Allen, QB (free agent), MJ Stewart, CB (free agent), Fabian Moreau, CB (free agent), Marlon Mack, RB (free agent), Neville Hewitt, ILB (free agent), Scott Quessenberry, Center (free agent), Darrell Daniels, TE (free agent), Daesean Hamilton, WR (free agent), Chester Rogers, WR (free agent), Chad Beebe, WR (free agent), Isaac Yiadom, CB (free agent), Jerry Hughes, DE (free agent), Kevin Hogan, QB (free agent)

Projected Starters

Offense

QB: Davis Mills

RB: Marlon Mack

WR: Brandin Cooks

WR: Nico Collins

WR: Chris Conley

TE: Pharoah Brown

FB: Andy Janovich

LT: Laremy Tunsil

LG: Kenyon Green

C: Justin Britt

RG: AJ Cann

RT: Tytus Howard

Defense

LDE: Jonathan Greenard

LDT: Maliek Collins

RDT: Ross Blalock

RDE: Rasheem Green

WLB: Neville Hewitt

MLB: Christian Kirksey

SLB: Kamu Grugier-Hill

CB: Derek Stingley, Jr.

CB: Steven Nelson

SS: Eric Murray

FS: Jalen Pitre

Special Teams

PK: Ka’imi Fairbairn

P: Cameron Johnston

PR: Desmond King II

KR: Tremon Smith

PREVIEW

The Texans opened the offseason finally moving on from quarterback Deshaun Watson, trading him to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a boatload of picks. They still did not allow the Instagram DM enthusiast to leave without getting a little massage oil on them and had to reach a settlement with 30 women in the Watson case.

They fired David Culley, who did a pretty fantastic job in his single season and replaced him with his own defensive coordinator, Lovie Smith. This was not a job that many people wanted for good reason.

But, hey, that’s all behind them now. Now they can go back to being the worst team in the NFL and while actively run like a Jonestown level religious cult thanks to the continued employment of executive VP of operations Jack Easterby.

If you’ve been reading my win predictions, you know that this is the point where I actually go through the schedule, sometimes game by game, and predict the wins, possible wins and sure losses. You can’t do that with Houston because they will be the underdog in every single game on their schedule.

More than that, just by comparing rosters this team should go 0-17. You could have said the same thing last year, but not only did they not go winless. They won four games, including their season opener. The NFL is weird. It’s as tough to go completely defeated as it is to go undefeated. These are grown mem. Professional football players with pride and heart.

Below, I’ve predicted three victories. Where are those coming from? No clue. They swept the Jaguars last year, but that was all on Urban Meyer and that whole crapstorm. Their other two victories were outrageous upsets over the Titans and Chargers. I can’t conceive of a universe where that kind of thing is repeated again.

This is a team that should be incapable of winning a game. They were 400 percent better than that a year ago and no one can make it make sense. Frankly, the more I think about, the more I want to change my prediction to 2-15 so I better just stop thinking about the Texans altogether like I will once the actual season kicks off in September.

Final record prediction: 3-14

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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