Houston, TX. For the 2012 Houston Texans, a trip to the playoffs will be simply not be good enough. An AFC South division title will not be good enough either. Going deep into the playoffs is also not going to make this season a success. Anything less than a trip to the Super Bowl, and winning it, will be a failure in the minds of the organization and their fans. Although this Houston Texans team still flies under the radar to a certain extent, it should be very obvious that they have the talent and now the experience to do some serious damage later this season. As teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Jets, and Broncos seem to have gotten a lot more of the spotlight and attention throughout 2012, Houston has largely stayed very quiet. What they are doing though, is continuing to win games, and in impressive fashion. Through two weeks of the regular season, the Texans are 2-0, having outscored their opponents a combined 57-17. Their two victories haven’t been flashy, however very little about what this team does is. But taking this team lightly in the grand scheme of things in the AFC would be foolish, as they seem poised to be a huge roadblock come January.
With stars like Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, the offense can be explosive and put up some serious points. One of the things that derailed this team last year was the loss of Matt Schaub, who went down in 2011 with a foot injury. As great as Foster and Johnson are, the key to this Houston Texans team being a factor going forward will be the health of Schaub. Although not at the level of a Brady or Roethlisberger, Schaub has shown that he can be very good, and a QB who can get the job done. On defense, this unit is scary good at times, even with the loss of Mario Williams. J.J. Watt is a star in the making, and will soon be the undisputed leader of the defensive line. At linebacker, Brian Cushing is as steady as they come, and his toughness is infectious. The 2011 addition of CB Johnathan Joseph has provided stability to Houston’s pass defense, as this unit was one of the NFL’s worst just a few years ago. The bottom line is that this Texans defense is truly outstanding, and is championship quality. Just like every other team in the NFL, health will dictate how far this team will go. Through two weeks though, it looks as if Houston may end up being where other AFC teams have to go through to get to New Orleans in early February.
It is only mid September, But this Texans team may already be running away with the AFC South. Jacksonville is not any sort of contender, Tennessee seems to be a mess at this point, and Indianapolis is still quite a ways away. Houston could in reality, have this division locked up sometime in November…..which presents a potential new problem. Will they have the maturity and hunger to keep the pedal to the metal even when they don’t have much to play for in December? Hopefully for their sake, they are battling another AFC team or two for home field advantage at that point. That may be enough to drive them to finish with the #1 seed in the AFC. Think they would want to travel to Foxboro, Pittsburgh, or Baltimore in January? Or stay at home, in the climate controlled venue known as Reliant Stadium? Winning there could be a dicey proposition for all other AFC powers in the 2012 post-season. It isn’t even quite fall yet, but the Houston Texans may be the best team in the AFC.
Denver Sports by J Simp