Houston Texans is coming off its first winning season in seven years going
9-7 in 2009. Head Coach Gary Kubiak who was reportedly on shaky ground early last
season emerged unscathed and even prospered signing a new three-year deal that
will run thru the 2012 season showing just how valuable a winning streak can be
win positioned properly. The Texans have made it clear that Kubiak is their guy
and it would appear that he finally has all the pieces in place to take the
team to the next level.
Quarterback Matt Schaub
and receiver Andre Johnson make one
of the best NFL offensive
combinations in football with that duo hooking up 101 times for 1,569 yards and
9 touchdowns. Schaub had a banner 2009 campaign leading the AFC in passing with
4, 770 yards including 29 touchdown passes. He completed 67% of his throws en
route to a QB rating of 98.6%. Johnson meanwhile was the AFC’s top receiver
with 101 receptions, 1569 yards and nine TD’s.
Overall the Texans ranked fourth in the NFL in offense with an average
of 383 yards per game including 290
yards thru the air. The Texans will also get tight end Owen Daniels back after
injuries cost him most of the 2009 season.
Houston’s big question mark on offense is its running game. Former
West Virginia star Steve Slaton who gained 1,282 yards in his rookie season in
2008 regressed big time in ’09, rushing for just 428 yards. His return to form
is a must if the Texans are to take that next step. Should Slaton fail to
produce, Houston could turn to rookie RB Ben Tate from Auburn who gained 1,362
yards in his senior season. Ryan Moats and Adrian Foster are also options at
the RB position.
NFL Football Lines
The Texans will start the season without the NFL defensive rookie of
the year, linebacker Brian Cushing
who was hit with a four-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.
The former USC star had 133 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, and four interceptions.
His absence will definitely hurt a Houston that ranked 13th in
defense last season allowing 325 yards per game. The Texans signed LB and
defensive captain DeMeco Ryans to a six-year deal. Ryans has made the Pro Bowl
twice in four seasons and has been the league’s leading tackler since he
arrived in 2006. The secondary appears set despite losing Dunta Robinson who
bolted for Atlanta via the free agency route. He’ll be replaced by first-round
pick Kareem Jackson from Alabama. Bernard Pollard provides veteran leadership
on the other side and is coming off a season which saw him grab four interceptions.
Defensive end Mario Williams anchors an improving front four and yes it’s the same
Mario Williams who was drafted ahead of Reggie Bush in 2006 much to the chagrin
of Mel Kuiper and other alleged draft experts. While Bush has been a good
player in limited duty with the Saints, Williams is a full-time bona fide star.
On special teams kicker Kris Brown looks to rebound from a season in which he
missed a career worst 11 field goals.
The Texans were knocking on the playoff door last season, this year they plan to kick the
door in. If Schaub and Johnson stay healthy and Cushing comes back strong after
his suspension, this figures to be the year that the Texans end their
Houston’s season win total opened and remains at
eight. They’re listed at +350 to win the AFC South, 13/1 to capture the AFC
crown and 28/1 to win the Super Bowl.