I know it doesn't feel like it at this very moment, but someday the football news in this town will shift away from Deshaun Watson's legal troubles and over to actual football. Probably sometime after next week's NFL Draft and before training camp, but I swear, it IS going to happen. However, if the Vegas oddsmakers' assessment of the Houston Texans is accurate, you're probably going to be longing once again for legal banter by the time the season rolls around.
There's just not a lot of good news on the football front for the Houston Texans, and that has been officially quantified by Caesar's Sportsbook, who put out early season win totals on the NFL last week, in which the Texans are tied with the lowly Detroit Lions for the lowest season win total in the league. Here's how the whole list went:
Bills (10.5), Dolphins (9)
Patriots (9), Jets (6)
Ravens (11), Browns (10)
Steelers (9), Bengals (6.5)
Colts (10), Titans (9.5)
Jaguars (6), Texans (5)
Chiefs (12), Chargers (9)
Raiders (8), Broncos (7.5)
Cowboys (9.5), Washington (8)
Giants (7), Eagles (7)
Packers (11), Vikings (8.5)
Bears (7.5), Lions (5)
Buccaneers (11.5), Saints (9.5)
Panthers (7.5), Falcons (7)
Rams (10.5), 49ers (10)
Seahawks (10), Cardinals (8)
A few thoughts on the above numbers:
Quick reminder that the ground rules have changed (slightly)
I issue this reminder because I, myself, keep forgetting that the NFL owners, just a few weeks ago, approved a 17 game regular season. Therefore, there is one extra game this year for each team, so if it feels like some of the good teams' season win totals are a half win or so higher than they should be, that is why. Every team in the NFL has an additional game, in which they crossover against a team from the division in the opposite conference that they played in 2019. If that sounds confusing, just know that the Texans host the Carolina Panthers in their additional game.
Get ready for the Texans to be a prognostication punching bag for the next several months
Hey, speaking of the Texans, prepare yourself. A low season win total on the Vegas big board is just the beginning of what will undoubtedly be an offseason and preseason full of low expectations, Deshaun Watson stories, and jokes about signing 50 free agents. The Texans are the lowest win total on the board for a reason — they just don't have very many good football players. Also, they are likely done with Deshaun Watson, and their schedule includes a crossover with the NFC West, the hardest division in football. (I guess that's three reasons. Oh well.)
The AFC South, as a whole, ain't all that hot
Hey, speaking of the NFC West, I love going through this exercise every year, and that's adding up the total wins for all four teams in each division on a board like this. Going through that exercise here, we see that the NFC West has the most forecasted wins (38.5), and the AFC South has the least (30.5). This passes the smell test. The NFC West has two recent Super Bowl teams, a perennial 10-plus win team in Seattle, and a trendy upstart in Arizona. The AFC South's best team has Philly castoff Carson Wentz as its starting quarterback.
Here are a couple early wagers that I've already bet
I've already bet two teams on this board. I took the Rams over 10.5 wins and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers over 11.5 wins. On the Rams, one of these NFC West teams forecasted for double digits is going to get there, and I think the upgrade from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford is MASSIVE for a team that was already a playoff team before Stafford arrived. As for the Buccaneers, they went 11-5 last season, and that was while trying to assimilate a bunch of new parts during COVID. Drew Brees is no longer around to win the NFC West, so I see Tampa Bay, who returns almost everyone from last season's championship squad, as a 13-3 type team.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.