2009 record: 9-7 (Second in AFC South)
Michael LombardiTheir offense is fun to watch, but their team does not show the toughness to close out games in the fourth quarter.
As in how many wins Houston had a year ago, giving the franchise its first winning season in its young history. Now the question is simple: Can the Texans take that next step and make the playoffs?
The second-year cover man becomes the Texans' No. 1 corner after the offseason departure of Dunta Robinson. Although Quin showed that he was a capable starter in 12 starts last season, he will see more balls head in his direction as the team's designated "shutdown" corner. Quin must show that he can handle the pressure of locking down opponents' top pass catcher.
Mario WilliamsWilliams has developed into a dominant force off the edge after being the Texans' surprising selection with the top-overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. His impressive combination of size, strength and power allows him to overwhelm blockers on the edge. Yet, he also possesses the quickness and athleticism to nimbly turn the corner on speed rushes. With an overall skill set that makes him nearly impossible to contain, Williams is a disruptive player capable of taking over the game at any moment.
Foster to go bananas?With Ben Tate lost for the season, Arian Foster could develop into a fantasy sleeper. He showed flashes of potential at the end of last season and is now securely atop the Texans depth chart, so don't be shocked to see him bust out and become a viable fantasy starter.
Three pivotal games
Sept. 12 vs. IndianapolisThe Texans have not defeated the Colts since 2006, though they came close twice last season, including a Week 9 game in which a 42-yard miss from kicker Kris Brown would have sent the game into overtime. If the Texans are going to take the next step, they need to exorcise these Colts demons. No better time than in Week 1.
Sept. 26 vs. DallasThe Texans have been waiting four years to reclaim the Lone Star State since a 34-6 beatdown in 2006. OK, so the Cowboys will always be top dog in Texas, but Houston's high-powered offense should have something to say about the outcome when the Cowboys visit Reliant Stadium. This could be a high-scoring game that goes down to the wire.
Dec. 13 vs. BaltimoreWill the Texans be fighting for the AFC South title or a playoff spot when this Week 14 matchup rolls around? If they are, this Monday night game could have huge implications for Houston. Even if the Texans are out of contention, expect an outstanding matchup between their explosive offense and the Ravens' traditionally stingy defense.