Sunday, August 18, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Houston Texans

HOUSTON TEXANS                                                    

Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

2012 Record: 12-4-0 (1st in AFC South)

New Players: S Ed Reed; P Shane Lechler; RB Greg Jones.

Gone Elsewhere: LB Connor Barwin; RB Justin Forsett; CB Alan Ball; S Glover Quin; WR Kevin Walter; RB James Casey; DL Shaun Cody; P Donnie Jones; K Shayne Graham.

Offense: Quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Arian Foster are the bread-and-butter players for the Texans' offense. Wide receiver Andre Johnson (112 receptions for 1,598 yards and four touchdowns) isn't bad either.
Schaub passed for 4,008 yards with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and Foster led the Texans with
Houston's Big Three- Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson
1,424 rushing yards and scored 15 rushing touchdowns. In addition, Foster grabbed 40 receptions for 217 yards and two more scores. Ben Tate backs up Foster and gained 279 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns last year.
After the "Big Three" it's up for grabs as rookie DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) looks to get a shot at the other starting wide receiver spot this season. Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey played sparingly last year and are available as well as Garrett Graham, who caught 28 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The tight end is Owen Daniels (62, 716, six TD) who is a frequent target for Schaub.
Up front in the trenches are center Chris Myers, guards Wade Smith and Brandon Brooks and tackles  Derek Newton and Duane Brown.
The offense is balanced as the Texans were seventh in the NFL in offense, averaging 372 yards per game, with 133 yards on the ground and 239 passing yards. The Texans also finished seventh in the league in scoring, getting 26 points a game last season.

Defense: One name stands out here ... J.J. Watt!
The third year defensive end had an NFL high 20 1/2 quarterback sacks last season and leads the defense along with fellow end Antonio Smith, who had seven sacks.The nose tackle is Earl Mitchell.
J.J. Watt
The linebacking crew is solid with outside backers Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus (six sacks) and inside men Brian Cushing and Darryl Sharpton. Veteran Tim Dobbins is a stellar backup for this unit.
The secondary will have a huge upgrade with safety Ed Reed coming over from the Baltimore Ravens.
Reed brings perennial Pro Bowl experience to the team and will work along with strong safety Danieal Manning (two INT) and cornerbacks Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, who had four picks last season.
The Texans' defense finished seventh overall last season, giving up 323 yards per game. The pass defense was torched on occasion while allowing 226 yards per game. Opposing teams averaged 20.6 points per game as well.

OUTLOOK: This looks to be a Super Bowl or bust type of season in Houston.
The team is loaded and will look to get past the division round of the playoffs this time around and it will be up to QB Matt Schaub, along with RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson to lead the way on offense while J.J. Watt and Ed Reed lead the defense.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak has seen his team advance the past two seasons in the early rounds of the playoffs only to be stopped by New England last season and Baltimore two years ago.
To get to the Super Bowl, the offense must step up and the defense has to come up with the big plays to keep the Texans in the game.
With Reed looming in the secondary, that just might happen this time around come January.
The Texans do have a knack for coming up big during the regular season, having a plus-12 on turnovers thanks to 29 takeaways last season. But now they have to step up and do it when it counts most ... in the playoffs.
A tough schedule looms large this season, so the Texans will be battled again and the Indianapolis Colts put a scare into them last year in the AFC South division battle.
Another playoff appearance appears to be on the horizon, so look for an 11-5 finish this year as the Texans look to (to borrow a phrase from old school Houston Oilers Coach Bum Phillips) "kick it in" this season during the playoffs and get through that door to the Super Bowl.


Sept. 9- at San Diego
Sept. 15- vs. Tennessee
Sept. 22- at Baltimore
Sept. 29- vs. Seattle
Oct. 6- at San Francisco
Oct. 13- vs. St. Louis
Oct. 20- at Kansas City
Oct. 27- BYE WEEK
Nov. 3- vs. Indianapolis
Nov. 10- at Arizona
Nov. 17- vs. Oakland
Nov. 24- vs. Jacksonville
Dec. 1- vs. New England
Dec. 5- at Jacksonville
Dec. 15-at Indianapolis
Dec. 22- vs. Denver
Dec. 29- at Tennessee

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