Houston Texans: A four-part prediction of the 2019 season

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (Staff Photo By Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (Staff Photo By Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) /

Part II: AFC challengers

AFC Competition

Why is our strength of schedule ranked fourth? Let’s look at who made the playoffs last season.

  • 1 – Kansas City Chiefs
  • 2 – New England Patriots
  • 3 – Houston Texans
  • 4 – Baltimore Ravens
  • 5 – Los Angeles Chargers
  • 6 – Indianapolis Colts

So aside from Indianapolis, which playoff teams are we meeting this year? I’ll give you one simple answer.


Yep, every AFC team from the playoffs last season will be a challenge for the Houston Texans. This is perhaps the biggest reason why there is skepticism on the Houston Texans’ playoff chances. Houston had the weakest strength of schedule last season and yet, in spite of a nine-game winning streak that keyed Houston to an AFC South title, eleven games were decided by a score. So there is a reason for the Houston Texans taking a step back and needing more to win the Super Bowl.

But perhaps, this could be a big asset for the Texans because you want to beat the best. It could play a big role in the Texans’ experience becoming a key reason why they are holding up the Vince Lombardi trophy down the line. Yet, here’s how the AFC non-division schedule plays out (all times are central).

Week 3: Texans @ Chargers – Sep. 15 – 3:25 PM (CBS)

Week 6: Texans @ Chiefs – Oct. 13 – Noon (CBS)

Week 8: Raiders @ Texans – Oct. 27 – Noon (CBS)

Week 11: Texans @ Ravens – Nov. 17 – Noon (CBS)

Week 13: Patriots @ Texans – Dec. 1 – 7:20 PM (NBC)

Week 14: Broncos @ Texans – Dec. 8 – Noon (CBS)

Most of these games I see on here are coin flippers. They’ll either go our way or the oppositions.

Los Angeles

Barring any injuries here, this will be the first time J.J. Watt went up against one of his brothers in an official NFL game. So I’m sure there are already plans for JJ to get the upper edge on Derek. But in hindsight, this will be an early challenge. Los Angeles still has Philip Rivers, who is at the twilight of his career. But with help from Melvin Gordon on the ground and Keenan Allen in the air, Los Angeles might fight with the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West supremacy.

However, Houston’s wide receiving core will be the biggest factor as Will Fuller will look to bounce back from his injury and Hopkins will continue to make incredible catches that should earn him a nod for the top receiver of the game. I’ll say this one will be a big road win for the Texans and will continue to build momentum.


The Raiders are perhaps in the same category as the Texans in that their part of a division that’s expected to really be competitive. They seem to have made a big splash acquiring Antonio Brown from the Steelers, which should help Derek Carr with another weapon.

But the second Jon Gruden era in Oakland has started out for the worse. Oakland went 4-12 last season while the other three teams in the division battled for two playoff spots. A win against the Texans would be a much-needed one for them if they want to win the division.

Yet, this would also be a must-win game for the Texans, who look to put an end to a two-game losing streak and start another one with a win. Just because the Raiders haven’t reached their potential yet and because the Texans could use another critical dub, my prediction is a win for the Texans as long as they don’t get the idea that this win will be an easy one.


Now Baltimore is a toss-up of a game for me because I can see us defeating the Ravens. But then again, Baltimore has started the Lamar Jackson era. The Ravens will be in contention with the Steelers for the AFC North title once again while Cleveland should also be in the hunt.

Jackson will look to improve on a stretch last season in which the Ravens went from 4-5 to 10-6 for the division title. To make matters more difficult, Baltimore is tied for 19th in strength of schedule and their defense finished second in points and first in yards per game. I won’t be expecting a high-scoring game. But coming off the bye week, I see a flat Texans team struggle first, then rally to make the game tight, but come up short. So this will be a loss.


Denver acquired former Raven Joe Flacco to join the Broncos team that struggled even with Case Keenum at the helm. However, despite the experience of a Super Bowl, Flacco was in some ways part of the reason the Ravens struggled early on last season, which led to his injury and a quarterback change by bringing in Lamar Jackson.

So now, Flacco is with a Denver team that still has Von Miller guiding the defense. Last season saw Houston escape with a win in the altitude. This season, the Texans will be able to open the doors to their offense and put pressure on the Broncos early. It’ll be another tough test, but the Texans will benefit in the end to get a win.

Kansas City
The first official meeting between Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes will be a classic game I feel. This has the makings of a Hakeem Olajuwon-David Robinson scenario where Mahomes was the league MVP and best quarterback last season while Watson plans to make a big statement. The only thing that’s annoying is that this isn’t a prime time matchup.

C’mon ratings people. You have two of the best rising stars going against each other. But in all fairness, Kansas City will be coming in with a new defensive coordinator after firing their previous one following the AFC championship loss to the Patriots. They’ll look to improve a defense that was 24th last season because their offense was so hot. Of course, a big move was them acquiring Tyrann Mathieu from us, which could turn out to be a problem.

My feeling though is that I expect a drop back of a year from Mahomes. Not because he’s on the Madden cover, but rather because he had an MVP like season last year and teams were struggling to figure him out.

Also. Weighing the pros and cons of being a Houston Sports fan. light

He’ll still put up good numbers, but Watson should get the gap of better quarterbacks closer to where he can be the best in the game down the line. For right now, this game will come down to the wire. But unless Houston can pull off an upset, I’ll give the edge to Kansas City just because of Mahomes and the offense and that they’ve had our number over the last few years.

New England

Last, but certainly not least will be a primetime matchup that now has a reason to be one of the biggest games of the season. Excusing all the offseason drama that has taken place, for now, the Texans are getting another crack at trying to beat the Patriots. With how the NFL schedules games, it’s almost like they’re going to continue to schedule the Texans and Patriots against each other until Houston finally wins a game. Maybe BOB and the Pats keep arranging this behind the doors.

But once again, the Patriots, now the defending Super Bowl champions, will look to keep their winning ways against the Texans. The last two seasons saw a Houston team come so close to knocking them off. You now feel that with Watson and a revamped offense, the time is now for us to beat New England.

Life on the Texans’ defense got easier because Rob Gronkowski is no more. Sure, Tom Brady is the goat still, but there should be a day coming closer that the Texans will get their second win against him and maybe begin plans to rule the AFC in the future.

That day won’t be during the regular season, unfortunately. As much as the Texans get close, they’re going to need more. So I hate to say this, but Houston will take another loss here. However, between you guys and me, I believe that day will be in the AFC Championship game.

AFC Thoughts

The AFC continues to be wide open with the exception of the Patriots and Colts making the playoffs perhaps. The Texans will be in the playoff mix, but it’s going to take steals and above and beyond performances to put them in the forefront of Super Bowl conversations. Yet, the Texans will be looking to do so while also going up against an NFC division with three angry teams vying for redemption and revenge.