4. Houston Texans
Hey, when you’re equipped with the bonafide “best defensive player in the NFL,” you’re off to a flying start.
That’s how we view the Houston Texans defense with reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
Watt, Brian Cushing (who finally stayed healthy for almost full season), and free-agent acquisitions Vince Wilfork and Rahim Moore make up a tremendous middle of the field on the defense. The key, though, for Romeo Crennel’s defense will be what they get along the outside.
Of course, Jadaveon Clowney will be back for season two after an injury-riddled rookie campaign. Now, however, he’ll be competing with Whitney Mercilus and rookie incomer Benardrick McKinney for a starting edge position.
Cornerback will be the other spot that’ll make or break Houston.
While finishing seventh in the league in total points allowed was a pleasant surprise under rookie head coach Bill O’Brien, his current cornerback situation isn’t very settling. Once a borderline Pro Bowl player, Johnathan Joseph has fallen off tremendously. Now 31 years old, Houston will look for Kareem Jackson to step up in a major way on the other side.
The real wildcard for the Texans defense will come in the form of Kevin Johnson, first-round draft pick out of Wake Forest.
If Johnson can live up to that first-round billing, then Houston will improve upon their 243.1 passing yards allowed per game in 2014.
Next: Number 3