2022 record: 3-13-1, fourth AFC South
Playoff picture: After winning the division four times in five years, the Texans have not made the playoffs — or won more than four games — since 2019.
Biggest Week 1 question: The product on the field has been bad and franchise icons like J.J. Watt are long gone. There’s reason for hope (see below), but how much more patience does the fan base of the league’s youngest team have?
What’s new: It’s a full reboot in Houston — a rookie head coach, a rookie quarterback, the whole shebang. DeMeco Ryans, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who played six seasons with the Texans, is the symbol the franchise needs after one-and-done seasons for both David Culley and Lovie Smith. He was also considered a heck of a defensive coach in San Francisco.
The Texans chose quarterback C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State second overall in the draft, then traded into the third spot to select Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson, the top defensive player available. Stroud improved as the preseason went on and beat Davis Mills for the starting job; Anderson should get Defensive Rookie of the Year looks.
They’re gone: Brandin Cooks was traded to Dallas after leading the Texans in receiving in each of the past three seasons. That leaves the Texans thin at wide receiver, with Nico Collins and Robert Woods the top two projected starters.
On the money: Left tackle Laremy Tunsil ($26.57 million) is the Texans’ only player with a cap number larger than $8 million. They’ll hope to rebuild while cornerstone players like Young and Anderson are on rookie contracts for the foreseeable future.
Get to know: John Metchie, who was born in Taiwan and lived in Ghana and Canada growing up, can be a difference-maker at receiver for the Texans. That’s why they drafted him out of Alabama in the second round in 2021. But Metchie missed his rookie year due to leukemia and will make his NFL debut this fall.
Vegas says: Houston’s over/under at BetMGM sits at 6.5 wins, signaling some expectation that the team will take a step forward under Ryans and Stroud.