During Week One of the Preseason, the Houston Texans made a pair of interesting moves—the let running back D’Onta Foreman go but then traded for disgruntled Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson.
While there had been hope for Foreman coming out of Texas, he was essentially a bust. Losing him will likely not impact the team in the slightest. But the acquisition of Johnson, that could potentially have a strong impact on the Texans offense this season.
But will he make it better? Will he make the Texans a better one to bet on this season?
Before deciding whether they are a better bet or not, it would probably help to know what their odds are. According to PointsBet:
- Wins: O/U 8 at -110
- AFC South: +300
- AFC: +1400
- Super Bowl: +2800
They have won at least nine in four of the last five years, they have won the division in three of the last four, can’t seem to make it past the divisional round, and haven’t been competitive whenever they have played the New England Patriots, the kings of the AFC.
That would make it sound like oddsmakers are being a little hard on the Texans. But with the Colts and Jaguars expected to be a lot better this season (and the Titans will not be pushovers), it is not hard to see why oddsmakers expect some regression.
The Texans are still a good team, but the competition got better while they basically stayed the same—until now.
The offense for the Houston Texans has been good in recent years, but it hasn’t been great. They have had done a decent job of putting points on the board (25.1 points/game in 2018; 11th in the league), but not a great job because it hasn’t been a very dynamic offense.
Johnson could be the missing ingredient the Texans have needed to take their offense to the next level. For the last couple of years, defenses have known they need to stack the box against the run and cover DeAndre Hopkins. Take care of those two threats, and more than likely, you beat Houston.
So, what the Texans have needed is another threat; one that could be productive enough to force defenses to respect it. Johnson could be that threat.
He hasn’t done a ton of work as a rusher (299 carries over four seasons), but he has been an incredible receiving threat out of the backfield averaging close to 60 receptions a season (235 in four years).
A running back that is a good receiver out of the backfield will force a defense to spread its resources out a little more in an effort to cover everything that they think needs to be covered. That means that they can not stack the defense to stop anything.
It also means that a ball carrier will just have to beat his man to break a play open.
Johnson will make Houston’s offense more dynamic and should help them win games. But does he make them a better bet?
They were probably going to be good for nine wins anyway, so the over is still a good bet on their win total. As for the division, it will be tight between the Jaguars, Colts, and Texans, but betting on the Texans has value.
Can they win the AFC and Super Bowl? There is value to taking them to win the AFC but don’t bank on them to do so. When it comes to the Super Bowl, Bill O’Brien is not going to open the offense up enough for them to have a real shot (so, don’t take them to win the Super Bowl).