There is a lot to analyze here, so let’s dive in:
2019 Houston Texans Season Recap
Coming off a 10-6 record and an AFC South division title, the Houston Texans claimed their 4th division title in the past five years.
A 51-31 loss in the AFC Divisional round to the Kansas City Chiefs was more devastating than the final score shows. The Texans held a 24-0 lead in the 2nd quarter and proceeded to give up 28 unanswered points in the quarter.
Houston Texans Schedule 2020: Week by Week Analysis
The Texans come into the 2020 season with an implied SRS ranking of 19th, despite the successful 2019 campaign.
The Houston Texans have approximately a league average strength of schedule (14th) according to the implied SRS ratings for the upcoming season. Their early season schedule features some marquee opponents (Ravens, Chiefs, Steelers in Weeks 1-3) as well as the league’s bottom feeders (Jaguars 2x, Bengals in Week 16).
In order to simplify the schedule analysis, I have broken down the Texans schedule into five groups: Likely Win, Lean Win, Toss Up, Lean Loss, Likely Loss.
Likely Win (Games with > 60% Win Probability)
Week 5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: -10. 74.1% win probability
Week 16 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: -8. 68.7% win probability
Week 9 at Jacksonville Jaguars: -6. 64.6% win probability
Lean Win (Games with 55-60% Win Probability)
Week 4 vs. Minnesota Vikings: -1, 51.1% win probability
Toss Up (Games with 45-55% Win Probability)
Week 7 vs. Green Bay Packers: +1, 45.7% win probability
Week 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts: +1, 47.1% win probability
Week 17 vs. Tennessee Titans: Even, 48.4% win probability
Lean Loss (Games with 40-45% Win Probability)
Week 6 at Tennessee Titans: +3, 41.7% win probability
Week 10 at Cleveland Browns: +3, 41.7% win probability
Week 11 vs. New England Patriots: +2, 44.4% win probability
Week 12 at Detroit Lions: +2, 44.4% win probability
Week 14 at Chicago Bears: +3, 41.7% win probability
Likely Loss (Games with < 40% Win Probability)
Week 1 at Kansas City Chiefs: +10, 21.4% win probability
Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens: +6, 32.2% win probability
Week 3 at Pittsburgh Steelers: +5, 35.3% win probability
Week 15 at Indianapolis Colts: +4, 39.0% win probability
Adding it All Up
When you put it all together, the Texans season breaks down like this:
- 3 Likely Wins
- 1 Lean Win
- 3 Toss Up
- 5 Lean Loss
- 4 Likely Loss
Looking at their schedule, the Texans could very easily start 0-3. Momentum definitely plays a role through the course of a season, so the outcome of those first three games could set the tone.
AFC South 2020 Win Totals
Using the above analysis, we can see ~4 games that the Texans should win. The remaining 12 range anywhere from a toss up to highly unlikely.
PointsBet Sportsbook has set the following over/under lines for season win totals in the AFC South:
- Indianapolis: 9 wins
- Tennessee: 8.5 wins
- Houston: 7.5 wins
In order for the Texans to go over 7.5 wins, they would need to win at least 4 of the following games (assuming they win their Likely Win and Lean Win games):
- Week 1 at Kansas City Chiefs: +10, 21.4% win probability
- Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens: +6, 32.2% win probability
- Week 3 at Pittsburgh Steelers: +5, 35.3% win probability
- Week 7 vs. Green Bay Packers: +1, 45.7% win probability
- Week 6 at Tennessee Titans: +3, 41.7% win probability
- Week 10 at Cleveland Browns: +3, 41.7% win probability
- Week 11 vs. New England Patriots: +2, 44.4% win probability
- Week 12 at Detroit Lions: +2, 44.4% win probability
- Week 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts: +1, 47.1% win probability
- Week 14 at Chicago Bears: +3, 41.7% win probability
- Week 15 at Indianapolis Colts: +4, 39.0% win probability
- Week 17 vs. Tennessee Titans: Even, 48.4% win probability
I have highlighted the games that I think are the most likely Texans wins. Who knows what the Patriots will look like this year without Brady, the Lions are, well, the Lions, and a season split with division rivals Tennessee and Indianapolis certainly seems reasonable.
AFC South and Playoff Odds
Other markets that are relevant to the Texans this season are the AFC South champion odds and odds to make the playoffs.
The Texans have only a 22% implied probability to win the AFC South according to PointsBet. When you consider the schedule analysis above as well as the win total over/unders, it seems like the Texans have better than a 1 in 5 chance of winning the division.
Where things get really interesting are comparing the odds to make the playoffs with the division winner odds. If we assume that only the division winner of the AFC South will make the playoffs, then there appears to be significant value on the Texans to win the AFC South at +350.
PointsBet is giving the Texans almost 2x better chances to make the playoffs compared to winning the division. If the Texans steal a game or two against Indianapolis and Tennessee, they could certainly see those chances come to fruition.