Over and under.
The NFL doesn’t exist only for the game itself anymore. The game is a vessel for other things—nachos, light beer, ignoring your loved ones, fantasy matchups, memes, social media scrolling, and gambling. The Sportsbook across the pond, William Hill, recently released its projected NFL Win totals ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
At the top are the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Packers, and Ravens with 12, 11.5, 11, and 11 wins, respectively. At the bottom are your Houston Texans, tied with the Detroit Lions (go Loins!) with 5 wins; right above Houston and Detroit are the Jaguars and Jets with 6 wins.
With the NFL win totals out and about, ESPN asked each one of their reporters to play the over-under game. Sarah Barshop of course took the under:
The Texans won fewer games in 2020 with quarterback Deshaun Watson playing the best football of his NFL career. While there has been a lot of turnover on the roster, the team doesn’t seem to have really improved this offseason. Houston isn’t sure what Watson’s status will be for the 2021 season because he is facing 22 lawsuits alleging sexual assault and harassment, and the Texans likely expect Tyrod Taylor to start at quarterback in September. — Sarah Barshop
The only reason to pick the over is if you believe Houston will win more one-score games next year than they did in 2020. Nick Caserio turned the Texans from a 61 to a 63 grade overall team with the decisions he has made this offseason. There’s one big problem. As depleted and empty as the Texans were and are, Deshaun Watson was the sole reason why Houston played themselves into ten (10!) one-score games last season. They only won two of them because Watson’s teammates wouldn’t allow him to turn the routine into the spectacular. Those teammates did things like skidding snaps and fumbling into the end zone. Without Watson, there are going to be plenty of 31-17 slogs and the occasional 200+ yard rushing game from an opponent where enough turnovers somehow keep Houston on top.
If the AFC South was worse and the Jaguars weren’t going to be healthier with a generational quarterback leading their team, I’d take the over for Houston in 2021. With Trevor Lawrence coming to town and cutting Houston’s win total in half, I’ll take the under.
One, two, three, four…any one of these sound more likely than six wins.