EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 13th of 32 preseason previews in 32 days leading up to the NFL season opener Thursday, Sept 5.
Win total last 5 years: 45
LVH over/under wins (10)
If there is ever a fashionable pick at a bargain price to win the Super Bowl it is the Houston Texans at 12-1.
The Texans have made the playoffs two straight years and have seen their win total increase in four of the last five seasons. Houston won 12 in 2012 so that would mean at least 13 in ’13, right?
Well the components are there. Houston was good enough to whip Super Bowl champ Baltimore Ravens by 30 points, but bad enough to blow home field advantage throughout the playoffs by losing the last two regular season games.
To reverse a reputation as chokers and underachievers, management brought in future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed from the Ravens and the NFL’s best punter Shane Lechler from the Raiders.
Add those parts to Pro Bowl selections RB Arian Foster, WR Andre Johnson, NFL defensive player of the year JJ Watt (20.5 sacks) plus 4,000-yard plus passer Matt Schaub and you wonder how this team finds ways to fail.
The Texans are 4-9 favorites to win the AFC South and could run away with it considering that Indianapolis has a much tougher schedule than a year ago while both Tennessee and Jacksonville are rebuilding.
Athlon Sports rates Houston’s draft a C, but they made a couple of nice picks at the top in WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) and safety DJ Swearinger (South Carolina).
There is a stretch of three games (Weeks 3-5) where we should know just how good these Texans are – at Baltimore, home to Seattle, at San Francisco.
Gary Kubiak is 59-53 as the only head coach the Texans have ever known. But anything less than an AFC title game and he may be finding work elsewhere.
Wednesday: Indianapolis Colts
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].