- Houston’s offensive line returns to usual sub-par form as quarterback Deshaun Watson is sacked six times and hit on 12 occasions during Sunday’s 16-10 loss to Carolina
- Texans managed to generate just 4.26 yards per play, while for the first time in his career Watson failed to complete a pass for a gain of at least 15 yards
- After falling to 2-2 on the season, Houston sees Super Bowl odds fall from an average of +2367 on Saturday to +4000
For a team that had its average Super Bowl odds as short as +2000 as recently as late August, the Houston Texans have seen a staggering fall from grace of late.
Though there are a number of reasons why Houston’s Super Bowl 2020 odds have plummeted following Sunday’s 16-10 home loss to a Cam Newton-less Carolina Panthers team, the team’s offensive woes seem mostly to blame.
This is after the Texans defense managed to force backup Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen into coughing up three fumbles to give Houston even more possessions that they were unable to convert on.
Odds To Win Super Bowl 54
|New England Patriots||+333|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+500|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1200|
|New Orleans Saints||+1200|
|Green Bay Packers||+1600|
|San Francisco 49ers||+2000|
*Odds taken on 09/30/19
Offensive Line Regression
One week after Houston’s O-line seemed to be rounding into form during the 27-20 win over the Chargers in Los Angeles, it reverted to its much-maligned norm on Sunday.
The Panthers managed to sack Deshaun Watson six times, along with hitting him on 12 occasions and 18 hurries.
Javien Elliott brings the pressure, and Watson is sandwiched for CAR’s fourth sack pic.twitter.com/a3ByjKmkWq
— Panthers 24/7 (@Panthers24_7) September 29, 2019
Part of the problem was that the Panthers played his favorite targets Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins particularly well, leaving the two to combine for eight receptions and just 64 yards. As a result, Watson ended his day with 21 of 33 for 160 yards. which is the kind of day that smacks more of pretender than contender, even on a team that averages just 209 yards passing.
Watson Wastes Rare Opportunities
When he wasn’t getting chased out of the pocket or dumped on his rear end, the Texans quarterback did have a few opportunities to make big plays.
Watson attempted just three passes of more than 20 yards, all of which fell incomplete. Two of those were in the direction of Fuller and Hopkins, but on each occasion, Watson overthrew his receivers, as he explains here.
Deshaun Watson brings you into the film room with this answer.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) September 30, 2019
At the end of the day, elite quarterbacks are paid to make the big plays, and in a National Football League containing the remarkable talents of the likes of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, making or not making those plays can be the difference between winning and losing. And there’s no margin for error come playoff time.
Houston Must Improve in the Red Zone
No playoff team had a worse red zone touchdown rate during the 2018 season, with Houston managing to turn just 50% of its red-zone possessions into six points or better.
Though their ability to do so is seemingly better through four games of the 2019 season, with the rate currently sitting at 70%, much of that is skewed by a 100% success rate during the season-opening loss at New Orleans.
Since then the Texans have converted red-zone possessions into touchdowns at a 62.5% clip over the last three games, and at a paltry 33.33% during Sunday’s loss.
While the Texans have talent, the caliber of other contenders, particularly in the AFC, seems too much for this inconsistent team to overcome, and makes it a poor value Super Bowl bet.
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