NFL training camps are winding down and the preseason is in full force. So what do we expect from the Houston Texans in 2017?

It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We have looked at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.

So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we have been taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. You can play catch up right here. So what are we really expecting from the Houston Texans in 2017?

There have been two themes surrounding the Houston Texans this offseason. One is that this defense will be even more formidable with a healthy J.J. Watt. The club allowed the first total yards in the league in 2016. Second but really first, is that the club will go into the season with a new Week 1 starter behind center…again.

Still, it’s not like Tom Savage is a newcomer to the team. The three-year pro fended off 2017 first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson (Clemson) – at least for now. However, both will now benefit from not only the presence of running back Lamar Miller but rookie D’Onta Foreman as well. Savage and wideout DeAndre Hopkins should also have much better rapport than the talented pass-catcher and since-traded Brock Osweiler did in 2016. Will Fuller, Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong will continue to grow as well.

Along with Watt, the Houston defense (now led by new coordinator Mike Vrabel) should be pretty fearsome as long as the star end stays healthy and on the field with outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney, as well as inside forces Brian Cushing and underrated Benardrick McKinney. There are a few new faces on a unit that includes emerging nose tackle D.J. Reader. This group could be a lot of fun to watch.


The Houston Texans have looked like the bridesmaid to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South this offseason. But let’s not shortchange the team that has won the division two straight years. It will be fascinating to see the defense with Watt, Mercilus and Clowney all healthy and at the top of their games. Yes, it could easily be another two-quarterback year for O’Brien’s club with both Savage and Watson seeing playing time. We see the Texans getting back to double-digit wins but possibly squeezed out of the top spot in the AFC South.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for and the founder of Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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