After the huge letdown the 2012 campaign was for the Texans, with an 11-1 start that ended with a 2-4 finish the rest of the way, to say that there are feelings of “Super Bowl or Bust” would be an understatement. I never like to say that about a team, but another stagnation that sees a second round exit or less, and the torches and pitchforks are going to come out for Gary Kubiak, much like they have for Matt Schaub this summer.
Houston is opening as a four point favorite on the road in San Diego this week, and even with the San Diego Chargers rebuilding, nothing is for certain in a late road game for the Texans. But here are some things that I feel certain in predicting will happen in Week 1 for Houston.
First off, the defense will be more impressive than most are expecting. The pass rush is going to be running full, due to the inexperience and lackluster play of the San Diego offensive line. Once Phillip Rivers has to look over his shoulder for the whereabouts of J.J. Watt all evening, it’s over.
The Houston secondary has had plenty of question marks about everyone, from Ed Reed to Johnathan Joseph. While one has yet to strap on the pads and helmet in a live game for Houston, the other has had his abilities questioned lately. Reed is still being listed as a game-time decision for this one, and no one is sure what to expect if he is active. He had pretty serious hip surgery and will be turning 35 years of age just two days after this game.
He’s one of the best to ever play the position, without a doubt, but how much does he have left? Well, I predict we’ll have to wait another week or two to find out, as Gary Kubiak waits until a guy is ready to play and then tells them to wait one more week.
With Joseph, it came out that he tried to play through an injury last season and that helped put a damper on questions of if his decline was already beginning. But that question came back in full force during a preseason that saw him smoked for touchdowns more than once. I predict it won’t be a problem this week, as the aforementioned pass rush will be rolling, and Watt registers a sack and helps Earl Mitchell get a pair of them himself.
On offense, Kubiak stays true to his vow to ease Arian Foster back into the offense and keep his carry count low. Foster actually has less carries than Ben Tate, but they are distributed pretty evenly. I’ll call 16 carries for Tate and 14 for Foster for a total of 106 yards and a touchdown combined.
Rookie DeAndre Hopkins has a slow start to this whole NFL thing, and only catches two passes for 16 yards, but Andre Johnson does what he does and carries the Texans’ passing attack with eight receptions and 112 yards receiving. The big winner of adding Hopkins to the roster is Owen Daniels, who finds himself wide open all evening and hauls in 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
For the much maligned Matt Schaub, it’s another solid night of 248 yards passing and a pair of touchdown tosses. Randy Bullock puts a cap on the Texans, scoring with a pair of field goals to bring the final tally up to a 27-17 Texans victory in Week 1.
Just for good measure, I also go with the averages and predict that Kubiak will lose a challenge, too. It wouldn’t be the beginning of a Texans’ regular season without it.