The Houston Texans roll into 2013 as the same uninspiring squad that remains quite reliable for double-digit wins. Like clockwork, Houston fades down the stretch and still claims the weak AFC South and nabs one of the two AFC home games of the wild-card round, before hitting some buzz-saw in the divisional round.
I’m following this plane of existence in projecting the Texans in 2013 with their season ending in Denver this January. However, I will make a concerted effort to express that Houston is not a completely crazy Super Bowl pick out of the AFC. All signs point to this conference having another down year and it’s easy to forget that Houston was in fact a Super Bowl favorite midway through each of the past two seasons.
Defensive lineman JJ Watt‘s 2012 campaign ranks among the most dominant in NFL history and when he teams up with a healthy Brian Cushing this defense has proven elite, not to mention that No. 1 corner Johnathan Joseph returns healthy after banged-up year as well. Under Wade Phillips wizardry, this defense could prove infinitely better than the one torn apart in Foxboro to close 2012-2013. There are certainly questions as to where the edge rush will come from at outside backer in the 3-4, but at the very least Watt will get in the passer’s face.
Arian Foster‘s declining yards per carry numbers and the personnel losses of this offensive line over the past three years are two fairly alarming trends for a running game that’s needed to be dominant. We know Matt Schaub can put the team on his arm every now and then, but doing it consistently and efficiently has remained a bit of a question in recent seasons. The addition of DeAndre Hopkins to draw attention from Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels should help in a big way, as Schaub’s attempts will probably rise in 2013.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 11-5 (1st in AFC South)
Predicted Finish: Loss in divisional round to Denver Broncos
More of Thomas Emerick’s 2013-2014 NFL team predictions: NYG | WAS | PHI | DAL | GB | CHI | DET | MIN | TB | ATL | NO | CAR | SEA | SF | STL | ARI | NE | MIA | BUF | NYJ | BAL | CLE | CIN | PIT | HOU | IND | TEN | JAX | DEN | KC | SD | OAK