The news by itself isn't a death knell to the team's hopes, considering the Texans rode the NFL's top defense to the divisional round of the playoffs a year ago, despite Watt's absence from Week 3 on. But linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who led that group in sacks and QB hits, was also lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle on Sunday.
That said, there's far more optimism on the other side of the ball, as Deshaun Watson has looked like a huge upgrade over the combination of Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage that steered the ship in 2016. Is the upgrade at QB enough to offset the major losses on defense?
As for Watt, his otherworldly production from 2012 to 2015 seemed nearly impossible to maintain at full health, let alone amid major health concerns. After another season-ending injury, will he ever look anything like his former self? If not, is his résumé already Hall of Fame-worthy?
The Texans draw the winless Browns in Week 6 before hitting their bye week, which is followed by games against the Seahawks and the Colts, who might have Andrew Luck back in the lineup by the time that Week 9 matchup rolls around.
-- David DeChant