If this weekend of deep freezing temperatures has taught us anything, it's that we need to plan for the worst. (Do you hear me, CenterPoint?!) We already know that J.J. Watt will be playing the 2021 season and beyond in a different uniform, and it appears that the Deshaun Watson situation is trending in a similar direction, despite the Texans' delusional belief that everything is gonna be all right.
So let's rip the emotional Band Aid off right now, and get ready for 2021. The more you can accept now that the franchise's two biggest icons of the last few years will be somewhere else, the easier the adjustment will be when it actually comes to fruition, and the easier it will be to endure the emotional ass kicking it will be when one or both of them returns to NRG Stadium in a different uniform.
With that in mind, we know who the Texans' 2021 opponents will be. We just don't know WHEN the games will take place. That said, here are those opponents, along with the chances of Watson and Watt playing for each of them:
vs Indianapolis, at Indianapolis: Watson NO chance, Watt LOW chance
There is no chance Nick Caserio trades Watson to a divisional rival that has tormented the Texans for their entire existence. Watt could choose to go to Indy, but with their QB situation in a state of flux, I doubt he heads there.
vs Jacksonville, at Jacksonville: Watson LOW chance, Watt NO chance
The only way Watson ends up here is in a trade for Trevor Lawrence (the soon to be No. 1 pick in the draft). For what it's worth, Jags coach Urban Meyer really likes Watson. Like REALLY likes him. Watt is not going to a rebuilding Jags team. Never.
vs Tennessee, at Tennessee: Watson NO chance, Watt LOW chance
The Titans are set with Ryan Tannehill at QB. Watt could see Tennessee as a good place to get to a Super Bowl, with his former DC Mike Vrabel as the head coach.
HOME NON-DIVISIONAL GAMES
vs New York Jets: Watson MEDIUM-HIGH chance, Watt NO chance
The Jets have been among the most prominently mentioned trade partners for the Texans, with a slew of draft capital and young players. Watt is not going to the Jets, which is a rebuild, and a situation nearly as dysfunctional as the Texans'.
vs New England: Watson NO chance, Watt NO chance
Both guys are done with the Patriot Way. The end.
vs Seattle: Watson NO chance, Watt MEDIUM chance
The Seahawks have Russell Wilson, so they're set at QB. Watt could enjoy playing for Pete Carroll on a perennially relevant playoff team.
vs LA Rams: Watson NO chance, Watt MEDIUM-HIGH chance
The Rams just traded for Matthew Stafford, so no QB needed. Watt with the Rams is a fascinating fit, alongside the only other active three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner, Aaron Donald.
vs LA Chargers: Watson LOW chance, Watt LOW chance
I think a trade with the Chargers involving Watson and Justin Herbert could make a lot of sense for both sides. Watt probably just has better options than the Chargers with a new coach and a second year QB.
NON-DIVISIONAL ROAD GAMES
at Buffalo: Watson NO chance, Watt HIGH chance
Buffalo has Josh Allen at QB, but Watt to the Bills makes a LOT of sense. They were in the AFC title game last season, but still far enough from being a top contender to where Watt wouldn't be perceived to be glomming on to a ready made title winner by signing there.
at Miami: Watson HIGH chance, Watt LOW chance
Miami is among the leaders for Watson, should he become available. Watt is almost certainly NOT going to the Dolphins.
at Arizona: Watson NO chance, Watt LOW chance
It looks unlikely either Watson or Watt will team up with their former teammate, DeAndre Hopkins.
at San Francisco: Watson MEDIUM-HIGH chance, Watt MEDIUM chance
This would appear to me to be the one team with the best chance of winding up with BOTH Watson and Watt. Trading for Watson makes the Niners the favorite in the NFC. The main issue is that Watt would probably need to choose where he goes before Watson would ultimately be traded.
at Cleveland: Watson LOW chance, Watt MEDIUM-HIGH chance
Watson going to Cleveland in a Baker Mayfield trade is interesting talk radio fodder. The Browns are reportedly very much after Watt, and feel good about their chances.