2013 Record: 2-10
The Texans are becoming an AFC powerhouse. 2012 was the best season in franchise history, and unlike 2011, Matt Schaub was healthy throughout. Schaub is a top three quarterback in the NFL although he doesn’t exactly have the playoff pedigree of someone like Brady or Brees. Houston has yet to make it out of the divisional round in the playoffs after losing in Foxborough. Many had this team pegged for the Super Bowl after an 11-1 start. A 42-14 loss in Foxborough the next week raised some red flags, though, and they ultimately couldn’t overcome the Pats in their second attempt at them. The Texans were also cold down the stretch, losing to Minnesota and Indianapolis the last two weeks of the week even though they weren’t resting starters. For 2013, the Texans on paper remain a Super Bowl contender. Schaub, Arian Foster (1,424 yards, 15 touchdowns), Andre Johnson (112 receptions, 1,598 yards), Owen Daniels (62 receptions, 716 yards), and Kevin Walter (41 receptions, 518 receptions) are what make the offense absolutely lethal. Foster also has one of the best backups in the NFL in Ben Tate, but the Texans betrayed his fantasy owners by barely giving him the ball. Foster is an old-school, gimme-the-ball workhorse. Young Keshawn Martin, a 2012 fourth-round pick, and DeAndre Hopkins, 2013 first-round pick, are will take Walter’s old receptions and more as Walter left for Tennessee. Hopkins could also succeed the veteran Johnson. This addition of youth shows the Texans are built to last.
Defensively, the Texans lose explosive linebacker Connor Barwin to Philadelphia, but they overpaid him anyway. Houston picks up an old Ed Reed from Baltimore, and while his production may have slipped a tad, he is still terrific and a great mentor to the young secondary. Reed starts beside Danieal Manning, creating one of the best safety duos in the conference. It’s unbelievable how many great players remain on this roster. J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith start at defensive end, Brian Cushing is at linebacker, Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson at cornerback, and Whitney Mercilus up front. The beasts up front helped them rank seventh in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, and the pass defense is elite even if the stats didn’t show it last year. Watt could use a little help with the pass rush, as he had 20.5 of the team’s 28 sacks and Mercilus had six of those. Overall, though, a dominant, star-studded offense and defense have the Texans in terrific position for another playoff run.