Vandermeer's View: 7 predictions for the 2015 season


!1. DeAndre Hopkins steals the national spotlight**
The 'world' will know what we all know here. Hopkins is easily one of the best in the business with hands and body control to make highlight reel catches. In his second game ever, he made a contested toe-tapper to win an overtime tilt. Now he's in year three and the second year of this system with improved quarterback play helping the cause. He'll make some kind of Odell Beckham Jr. type of catch (remember the one at the Meadowlands that didn't count?) that will launch him into the national consciousness.

2. J.J. Watt will expand his multitasking role
Last year he caught touchdowns. He even rushed the punter. This season it's anyone's guess. Will he take a handoff or throw a pass? Will he put on a headset and call plays? Whatever it is you can be sure he's going to expand his repertoire and add to the legend.

3. Tight ends catch at least 50 passes
This is the easy one. The whole crew only had 32 grabs last year. It was a strange occurrence considering how much Bill O'Brien used tight ends in New England and the history of tight ends here. Owen Daniels went to two Pro Bowls. And even Billy Miller led the team in year one with 51 catches, including the first in franchise history. I digress. Expect Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin to be utilized a lot more this season. 

4. Texans will remain a top 5 team in turnover margin
The Texans led the league last year in takeaways. Quintin Demps came into the Texans Radio studio and saw last year's stats on the table. He said "wow" when he noticed the interception total (20, good for 3rd in the league). He's a ball hawk with four picks in each of the last two seasons and you know he and the other DBs are happy about having Watt and friends pressure the passer. The fun continues this season. They might not lead the league but their takeaways, combined with the offense turning it over less (they were 11th last year, not bad but they're looking to improve. Three of the top four teams played on Championship Sunday) means the overall margin will stay healthily on the plus side of the ledger.

5. Passing game will be in the top half of the league
It wasn't last year. Based on 2015's numbers they would have to hit 3,800 yards to do this. They were 24th last season. Naturally they want to run the ball but with both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett having 'grown up' in the system there will be more plays through the air than the pundits think. This might be the year the Texans finally eclipse the franchise high of 29 TD passes but I won't go there yet.

6. Brian Cushing finally gets back to the Pro Bowl
Let's hope he can't go because he's getting ready for a big game in San Francisco but if Cushing stays healthy, he's getting the nod. He's moving as well as ever and with Watt, Wilfork and the guys up front drawing so much attention, he'll have monster tackle numbers and be able to make big plays. His only time making it was after his rookie year when the game was played in Miami.

7. Vince Wilfork will become a beloved Texan
"Big Daddy" as we called him at Miami, is already widely known to Texans fans thanks to Hard Knocks. But other than blasting a Washington offensive lineman into next week no one has seen him do anything yet because he hasn't played. Get ready. Fans and coaches will love his play. And his larger than life personality will make for a powerful athlete-city relationship.

Take a look back at the six-game series history between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs.

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