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2013 Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are no longer just an afterthought in the NFL and looked to be one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl last year, going 11-1 in their first 12 games, including an 8-4 mark against the spread. However, Houston's momentum came to a screeching halt in Week 14 when the New England Patriots erupted for a 42-14 home victory on Monday Night Football. The Texans also lost their last two games of the season to finish 12-4 and despite winning the AFC South, many football betting experts felt like they were entering the playoffs with a lot of negative energy. For the second straight season, Houston beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home in the Wild Card round, 19-13. But the Texans then had to travel to Foxboro again, and as was the case before, Tom Brady and the Patriots shredded Houston's defense in a 41-28 rout.
Heading into this season, Houston still has two offensive monsters that are both top five players at their respective positions. Wide receiver Andre Johnson had a dominant campaign last year, totaling 112 receptions for 1,598 yards and four touchdowns. Texans running back Arian Foster was also a beast on offense, setting career highs in carries (351), rushing yards (1,424), and total touchdowns (17). However, quarterback Matt Schaub had a relatively down year compared to 2009 and 2010 before he got hurt in 2011 with 22 touchdowns, but he still managed to throw for 4,008 yards. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt was a human highlight reel all season as he recorded a career-high 20.5 sacks with 69 tackles to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, but linebacker Brian Cushing suffered a torn ACL early in the season after leading the team in tackles and was sorely missed the rest of the way.
The Texans have had a few key losses this offseason, but they have also added some impact players. They lost OLB Connor Barwin to the Philadelphia Eagles and safety Glover Quin to the Detroit Lions. Replacing Quin though is future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who will bring some big-time veteran leadership to this relatively young team from his days as a member of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Houston also scooped up Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins in the first round of the NFL draft, and he should help complement Andre Johnson on the other side. In addition, the Texans drafted LSU DE Sam Montgomery, who should give them even more of a pass rush outside of Watt.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have the Texans set at O/U 10.5 wins, and they should continue to grow and get better as the defending AFC South champs. Look for Houston to win at least 12 games again this year and prepare for an even deeper playoff run.
Recommended Play: OVER 10.5
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