Houston Texans 2012 Predictions: I Was Right, I Was Wrong

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 15, 2013

Wade was hopping mad over the play of his boys down the stretch.
Wade was hopping mad over the play of his boys down the stretch.Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

With 2012 in the books for the Houston Texans, it's time to look back on all the things I said about them before the year to find out what was true and what was blather.

There's no point in beating around the bush. One of my first articles for Bleacher Report was also the most reviled.

In it I had some comments about the Texans defense which were taken by some as a slight at what was sure to be one of the league's dominant units.

Here's how I did on that and plenty of other bold statements about the Texans.

The Texans Defense Will Collapse

In this and a follow-up discussion, I argued that Wade Phillips has no history of year-to-year consistency with his defense. I felt strongly the unit as a whole would take a dramatic step back.

In the end, the results were split. In terms of points allowed, the Texans dropped from sixth to tied for ninth. Had they given up one more point on the year, they would have finished 10th, which is what I predicted.

By DVOA, however, they actually improved a few spots on the season, which is a nice accomplishment.

What's significant here, however, is how badly the defense performed down the stretch. On the whole, it's very fair to say that apart from the once-in-a-lifetime season from J.J. Watt, the defense was dramatically inferior to the 2011 version.

Over their final nine games, the team gave up 11 points a game more than over the first nine games.

There's no question that this defense came completely unglued as the season wore on. The collapse game, it just started a few weeks later than I anticipated.

In the end, the season as a whole featured modest regression beaten back by the phenomenal play of the best player in the NFL in 2012.

Given the ugly way it finished the year, however, the strong wording of the original headline held up rather well.

Award Winners

Before the season, I tabbed Matt Schaub as the offensive MVP, and that was true for about six weeks. In the end, Andre Johnson has to be the victor.

Johnathan Joseph wasn't the defensive MVP, that was obviously Watt. However, you can make a case that Joseph was the most irreplaceable Texan. As his health declined, so did the defense.

The Texans' draft class was disappointing, but Whitney Mercilus managed to play well enough to win the team's Rookie of the Year award.

Kareem Jackson was the runaway winner of most improved, though Garrett Graham played solid football.

Kevin Walter didn't get cut, offering exactly what he did the year before. None of the young receivers stepped up to any degree as the season wore on.

Danieal Manning wasn't nearly as effective as he was in 2011, but the drop in production from Connor Barwin was far more jarring.

Arian Foster Led the AFC South in Rushing

How great is Foster? He scored 17 touchdowns and almost no one paid attention. Only 50 times in league history has anyone scored more in a season. That's pretty impressive.

Foster got the starting nod for the Pro Bowl, but somehow it still feels like he's underrated.

Wide Receiver was a Problem

Now, this looks like fish in the barrel, but at the time, fans were up in arms at the claim that Houston would struggle with only one viable receiver.

The arguments at the time were that Gary Kubiak's scheme didn't require wideouts, a claim that was as ridiculous then as it sounds now.

The team got a carbon copy of 2011 out of Walter, and those who were hoping for big things from Lestar Jean, DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin were sadly mistaken.

The trio of young wideouts combined for an embarrassing 323 yards receiving on 22 catches with two scores.

The fullback was more productive than that.

The Texans made a major miscalculation in the draft and in the construction of the roster. The need at wide receiver was far greater than the front office and/or coaching staff allowed for.

Ultimately, the Houston offense was not Super Bowl worthy, and a lack of talent alongside Johnson was a big reason why.

Take the Over

The over/under number for the Texans was 10 wins. Perhaps not coincidentally, that was their final Pythagorean record as well.

I said the number was right on, but Houston could go over if it got perfect health from Schaub and Johnson.

Both played all 16 games, and the Texans won 12.

While I was way off in my evaluation of the Titans as a team, the Texans and Colts were essentially who I thought they were. Both teams overplayed their talent, but the behind-the-scenes numbers fit the profile I expected.

Houston was a good, not great, team in 2012.

There's every reason to expect more of the same in 2013.


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