By Mike Lucas
Featured Columnist

The Houston Texans finished the 2012 season with a 12-4 record, and lost to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs.

The Texans made a lot of noise in free agency this offseason, signing future Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed, linebacker Joe Mays and running back Greg Jones.

The Texans parted ways with a bunch of key pieces this offseason as well, including linebacker Connor Barwin, safety Glover Quinn, tight end James Casey, linebacker Bradie James, defensive tackle Shaun Cody and linebacker Barrett Ruud.

Houston has Super Bowl aspirations in 2013. Here is the Texans 2013-2014 NFL season preview.


Houston had one of the better offenses in the NFL in 2012, and should be even better in 2013.

Quarterback Matt Schaub put up solid numbers last season with Andre Johnson as his only real receiving threat. Houston drafted DeAndre Hopkins in the first round of this year’s NFL draft to lineup opposite of Johnson.

With Johnson drawing most of the attention, Hopkins should be a ton of one-on-one coverage early on. Look for Schaub to go to his newest receiver often and early in the year to at least draw some of the coverage away from Johnson. Meanwhile, Owen Daniels starts at tight end for Houston, and he is a very solid receiver as well.

But even with the addition of Hopkins, the Texans will still be a run first team. Running back Arian Foster is arguably the second-best back in the NFL when healthy (probable for the start of the season), and Ben Tate might be the best backup running back in the league.

The Texans offensive line, led by Duane Brown, does a great job in Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking run-scheme, and these Texans backs have a lot of alleys to run through. Houston’s great running game opens up a lot of play action passing opportunities, which is where Schaub is at his best.

Overall, this is a very balanced, talented offensive attack.


Houston’s defense was pretty good in 2012, finishing the year ranked 16th against the pass and seventh against the run.

J.J. Watt is the leader of this defensive unit, and he is an absolute animal. Watt recorded 20.5 sacks last year, and made more plays around the line of scrimmage than any other player in the league. Watt lines up at one defensive end position across from Antonio Smith. Smith had seven sacks a year ago, and was a solid contributor all year long.

Brian Cushing and Joe Mays start at the two inside linebacker positions for the Texans, and Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus start at the two outside linebacker positions.

Cushing missed most of last season with an injury, but is a stud when healthy. Mays played for Denver last year and has started at times throughout his career. Mercilus and Reed are both young players, but have a ton of talent and should be better this year with more experience under their belts.

The Texans secondary was suspect last year. When opposing defenses spread the Texans defense out and threw the ball around, they usually had a lot of success.

Cornerbacks Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph will need to play better in man coverage in 2013 for this team to take the next step and reach the Super Bowl. Houston’s backup corners aren’t very good either.

When Ed Reed returns from the physically unable to perform list, he should be a huge boost to this team. However, it is unknown when he’ll return so the Texans will have to start the season without him.

That leaves Danieal Manning and DJ Swearinger as the starting safeties. Manning had a solid 2012 season, recording 77 tackles and Swearinger is a rookie that is known for his hard hits.

This unit will determine the Texans success in 2013. If they can play better and not get torn apart by elite QBs, this team has a serious chance to make a Super Bowl run.

2013 Prediction: 11-5

The Texans are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL. They have one of the best running attacks in the NFL and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins should do wonders for quarterback Matt Schaub. Defensively, if the secondary can hold their own, the Texans could be one of the top 5 units in the league.


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