The 2019 Texans clinched the AFC South for the fourth time in five seasons and enter the playoffs set to host a wild card round game. While Houston’s 10-5 record is strong, their point differential was closer to the middle of the pack. Houston has outscored opponents by just 14 total points and 0.9 points per game, which ranks outside of the top 10 among all NFL teams. Houston’s point differential is the lowest among 2019 division clinchers and ranks second in their division behind the 8-7 Titans, who have outscored opponents by 40 points.
Houston’s offense has been better than their defense, ranking 10th in points scored and 12th in yards gained, compared to 16th in points allowed and 28th in yards allowed.
The Texans’ biggest needs heading into 2020 are on the defensive side of the ball. Houston has been shredded for 383 total yards per game, fourth highest and above the 2019 league average of 348 total yards per game. They have allowed 6.0 yards per play, fifth highest and worse than the 2019 league average of 5.5 yards per play. Houston’s point prevention also hasn’t been particularly appealing, ranking 16th in points allowed.
Houston traded away Pro Bowl edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney prior to the start of the regular season and their pass rush unsurprisingly took a hit, falling to the bottom third of the league in sacks generated in 2019 after posting better than average sack numbers in 2018. Houston’s adjusted sack numbers also saw a similar decline. Houston needs to improve their pass rush, as the key to winning games in the pass-heavy modern NFL is a high quality pass rush that can allow defenses to rush the quarterback without blitzing.
The 2019 NFL season is coming to a close and while the playoffs are just arriving, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. We won’t know the full regular season schedule until April, but even with the 2019 season not finished, we know each team’s list of opponents. The NFL has a formula they use to determine opponents, with divisions and conferences rotating each year.
The Texans face their AFC South divisional opponents six times, half at home and half on the road. In addition, they draw matchups against all four teams from the NFC North and AFC North. Their final two opponents are the AFC East and West teams that finish in the same spot in the standings as them. Those were finalized in Week 16.