Texans have work to do to get to Super Bowl, but have right piece in Deshaun Watson

Here’s a look at the Super Bowl prospects of the Houston Texans, who finished the season 4-12. The tiers consist of: Realistic Super Bowl expectations; Should contend, but there are question marks; Middle of the pack; Lots of work to do; and Nowhere close.

Westgate odds of winning Super Bowl LIII: 20-1

Should contend, but there are question marks: Although the Texans finished the 2018 season 4-12 and last in the AFC South, they played half of their season without quarterback Deshaun Watson, who dominated in his six starts. Watson tore the ACL in his right leg in early November, and Houston lost all but one of its final nine games. The team will obviously get a huge boost from a healthy Watson, who is ahead of schedule according to head coach Bill O’Brien and could return to the field during the Texans’ organized team activities, which begin in mid-April. Watson was originally given a timetable that included eight to nine months of rehab.

Although the Texans will get their franchise quarterback back, they have several holes that need to be filled on both sides of the ball. Three starters on the offensive line are free agents, and it will be a priority to protect Watson from further injury moving forward. Houston also has questions in the secondary, as the unit went from second in passing yards allowed per game in 2016 to 24th in 2017. The Texans could re-sign cornerback Johnathan Joseph and invest a draft pick or two or some of their $56.6 million in cap space in a cornerback or safety.

While the Texans don’t have a first- or second-round pick -- the first-rounder was apart of the trade to draft Watson and the second-round pick was included in the trade for Brock Osweiler last offseason -- they do have the money to fill some of those holes that would enable them to protect Watson and improve the defense that took a step back last season.

Houston went from first to last in the AFC South last season but could be back at the top of the division by making the right offseason moves -- and because of the quarterback they have in Watson.