The Houston Texans – Another Good Season in 2010

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The Houston Texans put together a good season in 2009 – at 9-7, it was the first winning season in the franchise’s short history. Their reward for that is that they have the most difficult schedule in the NFL for 2010.

Who DID this schedule?: The Texans, playing in the AFC south, have to come out of the gate strong this year. They start out playing Indianapolis at home, then go on the road at Washington. They play Dallas at home, then go to Oakland. The next two games are at home, against the Giants and Kansas City. Four of these six are definitely winnable (Indianapolis and Dallas are probably not), so the Texans could be 4-2 going into their bye week.

It’s all about the running game: The Texans ranked 30th in rushing during the 2009 season. In fact, their leading rusher, Steve Slaton, only had 437 yards on the ground. The Texans seem to have shored that position up some. Their running back stable includes Slaton, Ryan Moats (who had 390 yards rushing last year), Arian Foster, Chris Henry, and Ben Tate (who they picked up in the draft). These guys should help with the inconsistent running game.

Fortunately…: The Texans return the top passing attack in the league, with Matt Schaub at the quarterback position. Receiver Andre Johnson led the league with more than 1,500 yards. This pair is intact, and the win total should increase with a better balance with the running game.

Good news/bad news: The good news is that the defense, which was pretty good in 2009, looks to be even better in 2010. Mario Williams leads the defensive line, and continues to play up to his high draft selection from a few years ago. DeMeco Ryans, the outstanding linebacker, inked a new 6-year-deal, so he is there for the duration. The Texans added Kareem Jackson, cornerback from Alabama, as their first-round draft pick this year. He is quick, and although he may be out sized, plays the ball well. Look for several interceptions from him this year. The bad news is that Brian Cushing, the Defensive Rookie of the Year from 2009 is an idiot. There were whispers when he was at USC that he was using steroids. Of course, he denied that since he never tested positive in college, but he tested positive recently. His appeal was denied, and he will miss the first four games of the season, to pay for violating that policy. The Texans are hopeful that Zack Diles can step up in his place until Cushing can return in week 5.

The improved running game helps Houston, and the loss of Cushing for six games does not have as significant an impact as it would for other teams. Houston wins in double digits this year. They will go 10-6 and make the playoffs easily.

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