Projected Record: 12-4
AFC South Rank: 1st
For the last few years, the Texans have tried many different receivers in an attempt to find a complement for All-Pro Andre Johnson. For years, the Texans have hoped that Kevin Walter would one day assume that position. However, it never came to fruition so the Texans looked toward the draft to find an adequate complement. The Texans feel that they have finally found the player to play opposite Andre Johnson and that is first round pick DeAndre Hopkins. Although raw out of Clemson, Hopkins has all the physical talent and athleticism to compete against any cornerback. During practice and preseason games, the Texans coaching staff has raved about Hopkins’ ability to catch the football and run after the catch. Foster and Johnson will draw a lot of attention on offense so Hopkins should face one on one coverage for most of the season. When going against a corner one on one, Hopkins should win most of the matchups because he is big and stronger than most of the corners in the NFL. The extra target will only help Matt Schaub improve as a quarterback. Last season, the Texans ranked 11th last season in passing yards per game. They must improve that number if they are going to compete for a Super Bowl. The Texans have one of the most talented rosters in the league and should convert their regular season success, over the last few years, to postseason success. With playmakers, such as Johnson, Schaub, Hopkins, Foster, and Daniels, and a solid offensive line, the Texans should rank inside the top five among offenses in the league.
On defense, the Texans made two key signings to improve their linebacking core and secondary. Although Joe Mays took some of Matt Schaub’s ear off during their game against the Broncos, the Texans added Mays because of the benefits he provides to the defense. Mays will add depth to the talented Texans’ defense. Along with Mays, the Texans added one of the greatest safeties of all-time to their secondary. After years with the Ravens, Ed Reed signed as a free agent with the Texans. The Texans are hoping that Reed will help the 16th ranked passing defense from last season. Although Reed has lost a step, he still has the experience and ball hawking ability to be a productive safety for the Texans. Along with Reed, the Texans added DJ Swearinger in the second half to improve the depth at the safety position. In the draft, the Texans added to their defensive line. Along with the DPOY and the best defensive player in the league, Houston selected Sam Montegomery and Trevado Williams in the third and fourth round. Every team needs extra defensive line players because they are big men and need to be changed frequently.
The Texans will have a great chance of making the playoffs again this season. The Texans are a solid team in a poor division and should win double digit games. The Texans begin the season on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have been in a down turn the last few seasons. The Texans should come out in the season opener and beat the Chargers pretty handily although it is on the road. After the Chargers, the Texans return home against the lowly Titans. Houston in their home opener should come out with a lot of energy and destroy the Titans. After two easy games, the Texans play three of the toughest teams in football, @Ravens, Seahawks, and @49ers. The Texans will probably win only one of the games because beating the Ravens and 49ers on the road is incredibly difficult for any team. The two games before the bye should be tough wins for the Texans. The Rams are an up and coming team, but should not beat Houston on the road. After beating the Rams, Houston heads to Kansas City to play the Chiefs. The Chiefs may have won the number one overall pick last season, but they are incredibly talented and should surprise a lot of people. The Texans will win, but it will be a tough game.
After the bye, Houston has a tricky schedule that could lead to a few stumbling blocks. The Texans begin the first part of their second half against easy teams. They should win the four games against the Colts, @Cardinals, Raiders, and Jaguars. Houston is playing three of the worst teams in football during the four game stretch so they should be able to rest a few of their stars. After an easy beginning to the second half, the Texans will face the Pats in Houston. After being drubbed twice by the Patriots on the road last season, the Texans should come be extremely motivated and should have the desire to win the game. I think that the Texans will win the game because they will desperately want this win and the Pats are not the same team as last season. After a huge win, Houston will probably face a let down against the Jaguars on the road, but still hold on and win. After the Jags, the Texans head to Indianapolis and play the Colts. The Colts and Andrew Luck should win the game if they have any chance of reaching the playoffs. After playing the Colts, Houston returns home to play the Broncos. The Texans have been known for playing bad games late in the season against good team, and I expect that trend to continue against the Broncos. After the tough loss to the Broncos, they head to Tennessee and play the Titans. The Titans should be their 12th win of the season. The Texans should win the South division and earn the second seed in the AFC and gain a first round bye in the playoffs.
Matt Schaub must improve as a quarterback if the Texans are going to make serious noise next season in the playoffs. The Texans have one of the most talented team in football and Schaub should not be holding them back from reaching their potential. Among the top teams in football, the Texans have the worst quarterback. Although Schaub is an average quarterback in the league, the Texans need better if they are going to win the Super Bowl. This season, Matt has a good chance of improving because he has another weapon to work with on offense. If Matt can have the success and make the next leap like Joe Flacco, the Texans will be in great shape offensively.
On defense, if Ed Reed can rebound from his injury and play productive football for the Texans, their defense will reach new heights. Ed Reed is a ball hawk and a player maker who can quickly convert defense into offense. The combination of JJ Watt and Ed Reed could be lethal for the Texans. JJ Watt ability to rush the passer and deflect passes could enable Reed to pick off passes and return them to the house. Reed is great at reading the opponents eyes and predicting where the ball will be thrown before it is thrown. Every team that wins the Super Bowl is great at turning the ball over and reducing the amount of possessions the opposing team has. Reed will provide veteran leadership to a team that has not won a lot in the playoffs, as well.
All pics and stat from espn.com