TDT Preseason NFL Power Rankings No. 12: Houston Texans

With uncertainty at quarterback, can the Texans capture their third straight AFC South title?

The Houston Texans have won the AFC South division in each of the past two seasons, and they are looking to make it three in a row in 2017. They have been an up-and-down team during the regular season, but find ways to win at the latter part of the season. Bill O’Brien’s team lost a few defensive starters, but should still be near the top of the league. The offense, on the other hand, is a question mark because of the quarterback position. How will they fare?

What I Like: The Texans defense was the NFL’s best a season ago. Even after the losses of A.J. Bouye, Vince Wilfork and Quintin Demps, they most likely will still be a very formidable unit, led by their front seven. J.J. Watt, when healthy, is arguably the most valuable defensive player in the game. Clowney is becoming the disruptive force we all know he can be. Nose tackle D.J. Reader should only improve in year two. The linebacking corps of Whitney Mercilus, Brian Cushing, Benardrick McKinney and rookie Zach Cunningham has the potential to be one of the league’s best.

What I Don’t Like: Tom Savage was named the starter at quarterback. Houston, we have a problem. This is not a good look at all for a team with playoff aspirations. Savage does have a strong arm, but he seems to be injury prone and has yet to throw an NFL touchdown. First round pick Deshaun Watson will be the starter at some point, but they aren’t ready for him to do so just yet.

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Offensive MVP: RB Lamar Miller. There are few candidates for this, but I’m going to go with Miller. With that uncertainty at quarterback, the Texans will rely heavily on their rushing attack. Miller amassed over 1,000 yards last season and will be a focal point of their offense again in 2017.

Defensive MVP: DE J.J. Watt. Any surprises here? I think not. Watt is the most physically imposing defender in the league and because of that, he commands so much attention from opposing offenses. Even if he isn’t the one making the big play, he’s a major reason why that play was made in the first place.

Season Outlook: The Texans will definitely be a team to watch this season. The defense is going to be tenacious and the offense has the potential to be explosive if they can fill that glaring hole at quarterback. That is easier said than done, however. Expect Houston to compete for the division title again in 2017, but don’t expect a deep playoff run.

10-6, 2nd in AFC South

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