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Odds and Ends

NFL Worst Record Predictions: Houston Texans +225

by Vaughn Dalzell
Updated On: August 27, 2021, 6:05 pm ET

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Worst Record in the NFL: Houston Texans +225

The Houston Texans have worked their way into this discussion slowly but surely.

The DeAndre Hopkins trade was where it started, then J.J. Watt leaving and Deshaun Watson's offseason allegations  were the white flag for this team.

The Texans turn to Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback with David Culley as head coach. Moving on from Romeo Crennel and Bill O'Brien is a positive, but how much?

Taylor hasn't started more than three games in a season since 2017, and at age 32, that is concerning. 

In 2017, Taylor started 15 games for the Bills and threw 14 touchdowns to four interceptions with four rushing touchdowns. 

He compiled 2,799 yards through the air and 427 on the ground. Buffalo scored 29 touchdowns, the fourth-fewest in the NFL and had the lowest quarterback rate across the league (62.6).

With a defense that allowed the fewest passing yards in the league, Buffalo went 8-7 with Taylor under center. Well, that will not be the case in Houston.

The Texans allowed the NFL's most rushing yards last season with 2,564 and the second-most touchdowns (24).

Houston was also one of 10 teams to permit 4,000-plus passing yards and one of 10 to allow 30 or more touchdown passes.

To replace J.J. Watt, Gareon Conley and Benardrick McKinney, the Texans signed Shaq Lawson, Christian Kirksey and Desmond King. Those moves are not terrible but will not drastically improve a defense that was among the NFL's worst week in and week out last season.

On offense, Taylor will have a tough time trying to stretch the field. Houston traded Randall Cobb to Green Bay and Will Fuller signed with Miami. Those were two of the three primary deep threats.

The receiving core left is Brandin Cooks, Chris Conley, Keke Coutee and Anthony Miller. I would be surprised if Taylor surpasses 3,500 total yards or 3,000 passing, for that matter.

The rushing attack should focus on three to four capable running backs for different situations. Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson and Rex Burkhead are the four backs on this roster. 

While the majority of those running backs are on the decline in their careers, it is not the worst running back group.

The schedule sets up as the 15th toughest in the NFL (.504), tied with Washington. Houston starts the season with two winnable games in the first three, versus Jacksonville, at Cleveland, then versus Carolina.

After that, their next win may not come for two more months. In my opinion, there are four opponents and five to six games where Houston could get a win.

The chances they go 80% or better in those games I pick out or during the entire season for that fact are less than likely. 

Texans schedule

 

I think the Texans could potentially win versus the Jaguars (two games), Colts (two games), Panthers and Jets. I favor the Colts and Jaguars to win at least one versus the Texans, being division opponents, plus I favor the Panthers to win their only meeting.

Weeks 4-9 leading up to the bye week are going to be rigid and the final right-game stretch could feature at least four to five playoff teams, excluding the Jets and Jaguars and maybe the Chargers.

There has been no significant movement on the +225 line, per NBC's future model, but I am expecting that to change with the regular season nearing.

Worst record chart

 

I give the Texans a 3-14 record, room for the Under 4.0 (-105) and more than likely the NFL's worst record.

The Detroit Lions have +300 odds but Jared Goff is the quarterback. While most have written him off, he has more upside than a 32-year-old Taylor under center with equal aged and declining running backs.

The Jets (+850) are next with the third-best odds to have the worst record. New York drafted their next franchise quarterback in Zach Wilson, plus brought in some young talent around him. The Jets will be bad but it's hard to be worse than they were last season with or without Sam Darnold.

Looking over the rest of the list via PointsBet -- my three favorites after the Texans (+225), the Eagles (+1300), Raiders (+1600) and Giants (+2200).

All three teams, the Eagles, Raiders and Giants have quarterbacks that will be tested this season.

There is potential for Las Vegas and New York to move on from Derek Carr and Daniel Jones after this season or the next pending another disappointing year or two. 

The Raiders have the eighth-toughest SOS in the NFL, while the Giants own the 25th easiest, so I would lean Las Vegas at 16-to-1 over New York at 22-to-1, especially with Saquon Barkley back. However, another injury to Barkley would plummet the Giants to the bottom of the league, hence why I like the +2200.

Jalen Hurts will be a full first-year starter on an Eagles team stuck somewhere between the brink of contending and tanking at the same time.

If Philly finishes last in the NFC East, that means there is potential for a bottom-five finish, but they should not be anywhere as bad as Houston.

PB Worst Records NFL

 

I will bet the Texans at +225 confidently but keep an eye out for preseason injuries, which could shift the market and put another squad in contention for being the NFL's worst team.

On paper and the field, Houston is and should finish among the three worst teams in the NFL. I believe the odds of +225 are a steal and should be +100 without Watson this season.

Pick: Houston Texans Worst NFL Record (1u)

 

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