Sports | May 25, 2021 10:52 am

Who Does Peter King Think Is the NFL’s Worst Team?

Hint: It ain't the Jacksonville Jaguars, who went 1-15 last season but now have Trevor Lawrence

NBC Sports reporter Peter King
NBC Sports reporter Peter King watches training camp in 2018.
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty

In a recent piece, veteran NFL scribe Peter King, who now calls NBC Sports home after spending more than three decades at Sports Illustrated, did his version of Power Rankings for all 32 NFL teams.

Not surprising: King has the Kansas City Chiefs, who have made the Super Bowl for two straight seasons, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won it in February and are bringing back nearly their entire starting roster, as the top two teams in the NFL.

Somewhat surprising: King ranked the Houston Texans, who went 4-12 last season, as the worst team in the NFL.

In some ways, it is pretty easy to see why the King believes the Texans are due to fail in the 2021 season. After going 10-6 in 2019 after an 11-5 season in 2018, the Texans stumbled to a 4-12 record in the 2020 campaign following a disastrous trade of stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals that eventually cost coach/GM Bill O’Brien his job.

Now that franchise anchor J.J. Watt has joined Hopkins in Arizona following his release from the Texans, Houston is in an even more precarious position in the competitive AFC South, especially because the status of franchise QB Deshaun Watson remains very much in doubt due to a litany of sexual assault allegations.

Watson, who could be placed on paid leave no matter what happens with his situation, isn’t even the main reason King is so pessimistic about Houston’s chances in 2020. Really, what has King sold on Houston being a punching bag is the shoddy state of the once stingy Texan defense.

With a defense that allowed 29 points per game last year and theoretically got worse in the offseason by losing Watt, the Texans will probably have to score in the 30s this season to even have a chance of winning games, according to King. And with second-string quarterback Tyrod Taylor possibly running the show behind a suspect offensive line, that may be a tall order.

“Houston in 2020 allowed 70 percent completions, a 109.3 opponent passer rating, and had three picks while giving up 30 TD passes,” King wrote. “Yikes. I didn’t even use the Houston, we’ve got a problem  line, because that would be understating how bad the prospects for 2021 are.”

As for the prospect of Taylor being under center to start the season, that certainly seems like a possibility as Watson won’t be joining the Texans for organized team activities and is working out on his own in anticipation of being traded, Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports. In addition to Taylor, the Texans have third-round choice Davis Mills and journeyman Jeff Driskel on the roster so their quarterback room is prepared for life without Watson.

It doesn’t sound as if it will be a life that’ll filled with a lot of winning, at least not in 2021.