2013 Houston Texans NFL Preview
Odds from 5dimes.com
The Houston Texans are in the elite class of contending teams this season. As winners of 12 games last season, the team will be guided by Gary Kubiak, who is now in his eighth season with the club. Kubiak’s right hand man, Rick Dennison, will help call the plays for a potent Texan offense. The Texans are a team whose offensive attack is built on controlling the clock and ball, while using the run to frame a play-action pass game. The duality is effective, but last year was plagued with issues of inconsistency.
Matt Schaub is the starting QB in Houston and he started every game last season. Schaub won on the road and enjoyed his first career playoff victory, and the Texans are confident he can help the team make their run in the AFC this season. The Texans are hoping for more consistency from him this season, but count themselves fortunate to have a QB with his composure.
Arian Foster has become synonymous with consistency. Foster ran for over 1400 yards last season and scored an NFL-high 17 touchdowns, 15 of which were rushing. He also caught 40 passes. Backing up Foster, however, is Ben Tate. Tate had a nice 2011, but he was ineffective last season and managed just 279 yards. Tate is in a contract season, though, so he will be playing for a paycheck and the Texans need their second back to take some pressure off of Foster.
Schaub has one familiar target at WR: Andre Johnson. Johnson’s opposite WR, however, will be different this season. The Texans waived Kevin Walter’s to cut cap room, and they are hoping to replace him with first round pick DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has the potential to have a huge rookie season. If he falters, the team will look to DeVier Posey or Keshawn Martin. At TE, the Texans have Owen Daniels coming off a pro-bowl season. There is talent at every offensive position.
Wade Phillips will ensure the defense can keep the points off the board, too. Philips is in his third season with Houston, and he led the team to the second and seventh best defenses in his first two seasons. He uses a 3-4 that is pretty similar to a 4-3, and in that he uses his linemen to play gaps rather than blitz so much. He’s going to seek for more pass rushing this season, but he won’t do it at the cost of abandoning his consistent coverage in the middle of the field.
The Texans will have a new kicker and a new punter. The team drafted a kicker for the first time in franchise history in Randy Bullock, but Bullock was hurt all year. Shayne Graham stepped in, set a team record, and then was re-replaced by Bullock. Bullock has a strong leg and performed exceptionally well at Texas A&M. Donnie Jones and Shane Lechler will battle for punting duties. Returns are undecided.
The Texans have enough talent on both ends of the field to win the Super Bowl, and they have won the AFC South and a playoff game in consecutive seasons. The team has replaced its free agents, drafted well, and outfitted itself with good coaches. Can they take the final steps? It’s tough to see the team defeating Denver or New England, but certainly the “Any given Sunday…” dictum applies here as much as anywhere else, and the Broncos and Patriots are hardly discounting this team.
Be sure to check out Maddux’s picks for this NFL season, as we line our bettors pockets once again in big fashion.