Falcon Points

Best and worst case scenarios for the Texans in 2019

Bob Levey/Getty Images

It is common practice to try and predict a team's record before the season. It is generally an exercise in futility, as the reality most teams have a range of possibilities. The low range is very high for good teams like the Patriots. For bad teams like the Dolphins, the high range is pretty low.

So what about the Texans? Vegas has them at eight wins, which seems to be right in the middle of their range. The Texans are a high variance team. If everything goes right, they could match last year's 11 wins. If everything goes wrong, 5-11 is not out of the equation. So let's take a look at what could go right, wrong and everything in between.

1) What could go wrong

The schedule is brutal this year, but the good news is the rest of the division has the same problem, save two games. Still, the Texans enter the year seemingly behind the Colts, who knocked them out of the playoffs. In the low end scenario, the Colts dominate the division as Andrew Luck stays healthy, the Jaguars improve with Nick Foles and the Titans are decent enough to make life miserable on the Texans.

Now let's look at the potential pitfalls beyond that:

Lack of improvement in key areas: The Texans addressed their two biggest weaknesses in the off-season - offensive line and secondary - but did they really improve? There is no guarantee the draft picks will work out on the offensive line, and the only veteran addition was Matt Kalil, who has been hurt the past two seasons. Kalil was terrific early in his career, but has been shaky ever since. If he can rediscover his form, he is an upgrade, but expecting that or one of the rookies to excel? That's probably too much to ask. The secondary was a disaster last season. Again, pieces were shuffled, but will they really work? So if the Texans do not improve in this area, they will clearly go backward with a much tougher schedule.

Oh, and injuries: A bad offensive line almost got Deshaun Watson killed. It could happen again. The secondary will face much better quarterbacks this year. Just being the same means eight wins tops. If Watson gets hurt, and Will Fuller inevitably goes down again...They also got a healthy season from J.J. Watt last year. If they don't repeat that? Then five wins is definitely in play.

2) What could go right

The changes in the secondary and offensive line improves those units. Watson and his offensive weapons stay healthy, giving the team its best offensive production yet. If healthy all season, they have a chance to be explosive. Defensively, Watt has a monster year, the secondary shows improvement, and the Texans match up well with the tough competition on their schedule. That is a lot to go right, but it is certainly in the realm of possibility.

3) Somewhere in the middle

So what is the most likely scenario? Right where Vegas has them - eight wins. In reality, injuries are always an issue. The loss of a couple key producers could have a significant impact. They could be a better team than last year and still have a worse record. Bill O'Brien still has not proven he can coach a team at a high level. Does it happen in Year 6? Unlikely.

The good news is it should be a fun year. If everything goes right, the Texans could be very exciting. But a disaster or something in between is very much in play as well.

Football is almost here, and while the Texans enter the season with a lot of questions, there are some potentially good answers.

We will find out soon enough.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome