AP NEWS

Texans Preview Capsule

August 29, 2018

HOUSTON TEXANS (4-12)

New faces: S Tyrann Mathieu, G Senio Kelemete, G Zach Fulton, OT Seantrel Henderson, CB Aaron Colvin, QB Brandon Weeden, TE Jordan Akins.

Key losses: LB Brian Cushing, OT Jeff Allen, OL Xavier Su’a-Filo.

Strengths: QB Deshaun Watson is healthy after season-ending knee surgery last year and should lead potent offense that also features WR DeAndre Hopkins and RB Lamar Miller. Defensive line expected to be another strength with three-time Defensive Player of Year J.J. Watt returning after missing most of last two seasons with injuries. He will team with 2014 top overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, who is coming off best season.

Weaknesses: Offensive line that allowed second-most sacks in NFL last season has several new faces but it’s unclear if changes will lead to better protection for Watson. Team added Mathieu and Colvin in free agency to upgrade secondary that struggled at times last season, but group will need to be much better to keep pace with outstanding defensive front.

Fantasy Players To Watch: Hopkins. Sixth-year receiver has become one of best players in game despite dealing with ineffective and inconsistent quarterback play for entire career. Hopkins was fourth in NFL with 1,378 yards receiving and caught career-high and NFL-best 13 touchdown passes last season while playing with four quarterbacks. With Watson healthy and on field he could put up even better numbers in 2018.

Vegas Says: Super Bowl 22-1. Over/under wins 8 1/2.

Expectations: If Watson is healthy and can build on limited work as rookie, Houston’s offense will be much better. Defensive front will get boost if Watt can stay on field to play with Clowney. With Watson and Watt leading team, Texans should shake off last season’s struggles to contend for third AFC South title in four years.

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