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Disaster and the Houston Texans have been synonymous over the past few seasons, which shouldn't happen for a franchise that employed Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, and DeAndre Hopkins just two seasons ago. The Texans traded Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals and Watt followed suit with a departure this offseason, while Watson may not even play this year due to an ongoing off-the-field issue -- as he's facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct (Watson also asked to be traded prior to the civil lawsuits). 

The Texans didn't have a first- nor a second-round pick this year, so improving the roster was a major task. Quarterback Davis Mills was their first pick (third round, No. 67 overall) as Mills will likely compete with free agent signings Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Driskel for the starting quarterback job depending on how things shake out with Watson. The Texans still have David Johnson at running back and Brandin Cooks at wide receiver, while adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram in the offseason to improve the running game. 

Houston was one of the more active teams in free agency, signing linebackers Christian Kirksey, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Jordan Jenkins and Kamu Grugier-Hill, along with cornerbacks Desmond King and Tavierre Thomas, and Terrance Mitchell -- all to improve a defense that allowed the third-most rushing touchdowns and the most rushing yards in the league last year (along with the fewest interceptions). 

Will the Texans be the worst team in football in 2021? (They were 4-12 with Watson having a career year.) Is the No. 1 pick in their future? Let's take a game-by-game approach with their 2021 schedule and see where Houston stands (as of now, we'll assume Watson doesn't play for the Texans this year -- which could change). Houston's over/under win total is 4. 

(Over/Under win totals for every opponent courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

Need a quick betting primer on your favorite NFL team for the 2021 season? Here are links to schedule breakdowns for all 32 clubs.

Week 1 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Line: Texans +3
Opponent win total: O/U 6

The Jaguars have this game scheduled on their calendar as the first game in the Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence era. Taylor gets the opening day start for Houston, as this will be the start of what looks to be a very rough year for the Texans.  

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-1

Week 2 at Cleveland Browns

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

The Browns are contenders in the AFC and their defense will give the Texans offense nightmares. Cooks does have a good day against a talented secondary, enhancing his trade value going forward. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-2

Week 3 vs. Carolina Panthers

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

A winnable game for the Texans here, as this contest will be intriguing with Carolina. If Houston can stop Christian McCaffrey, the Texans have a chance to pull off the upset. This one will go down to the wire as Houston begins to think about a change at quarterback. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-3

Week 4 at Buffalo Bills

Opponent win total: O/U 11

One of the best teams in the AFC isn't going to have a letdown game this week. This loss will be tough for Houston to swallow, as the Texans are off to an 0-4 start for the second consecutive year. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-4

Week 5 vs. New England Patriots

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

Texans general manager Nick Caserio will be facing his former organization for the first time. Caserio has a tough task with Houston, but this is just year one of a long rebuild. Houston gets New England thinking about finally turning to Mac Jones as the starting quarterback. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-5

Week 6 at Indianapolis Colts

Opponent win total: O/U 10

The Colts have a talented offense, but the Texans always seem to play them tough. Taylor holds onto his starting job for another week with a strong performance. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-6

Week 7 at Arizona Cardinals

Opponent win total: O/U 8

Doesn't get any easier for Houston with this stretch of games coming up. Arizona's offense is a daunting task for any team, especially if Houston can't generate a pass rush -- which will be a problem throughout the year. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-7

Week 8 vs. Los Angeles Rams

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Playing the NFC West isn't going to help Houston in a rebuilding year. Head coach David Culley's job will be questioned after this one, even though it shouldn't be. Culley is just playing the hand he's dealt. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-8

Week 9 at Miami Dolphins

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

An embarrassing loss to the Dolphins -- the team that fleeced Houston in the Laremy Tunsil trade -- will cause a shake up in Houston. The Texans will have a new starting quarterback after the bye week. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-9

Week 11 at Tennessee Titans 

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

Davis Mills emerges as the Texans starting quarterback and he'll run the offense for the rest of the year. Tennessee will just score too many points for Houston to pull off the upset, but the Texans offense will look better coming out of the bye. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 0-10

Week 12 vs. New York Jets

Opponent win total: O/U 6

The Jets are a better team, but this is the week Houston gets its first win of the season. Mills throws for three touchdowns as Houston pulls off the surprising upset. There will be no 0-17 team in the league this year. 

Prediction: Texans win
Projected record: 1-10

Week 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts

Opponent win total: O/U 10

Houston continues its progress and will play Indianapolis tough. Mills has some growing pains and throws a late interception with a chance to win the game. Just one month left in the season. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 1-11

Week 14 vs. Seattle Seahawks 

Opponent win total: O/U 10

Russell Wilson and Seattle are always a tough game, especially since the Seahawks are in the thick of the division race. The Texans will play Seattle tough, but Wilson will wear them down late. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 1-12

Week 15 at Jacksonville Jaguars

Opponent win total: O/U 6

Jacksonville is a game Houston should have circled on its calendar -- and a game Houston can win. A big day by Jacksonville's running game ultimately dooms the Texans. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 1-13

Week 16 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Justin Herbert may have a field day off this secondary as Houston inches closer toward clinching the No. 1 pick. If there's any consolation, Mills plays well in this one. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 1-14

Week 17 at San Francisco 49ers

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

The 49ers are vying for a playoff spot and the Texans are looking to play spoiler. Houston takes San Francisco down to the wire, but the 49ers zone-run scheme is too much. The Texans run defense will be better than last season, but the unit still has a lot of issues. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 1-15

Week 18 vs. Tennessee Titans

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

Houston will lock up the No. 1 pick -- and be in the market for Sam Howell or Spencer Rattler. The Texans' rebuild back to a contender can officially begin after the franchise has their worst season in its young history. 

Prediction: Texans lose
Projected record: 1-16

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