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Houston Texans have pieces to back up Super Bowl talk

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The Houston Texans enter this season a confident bunch, and for good reason. After years spent in the wilderness of the AFC South, they've emerged as the division's team to beat -- and they're thinking far beyond that.

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When NFL Network's Albert Breer asked receiver Andre Johnson and his quarterback Matt Schaub how they view 2012, both agreed this is a "Super Bowl or bust" campaign.

"I think it is," Schaub said. "Given where we went last year, the next step is the Super Bowl. ... That's our goal, and we're not gonna rest until that happens."

Johnson didn't mince words: "That's the only reason you play the game," he told Breer, in a piece published Tuesday.

Houston is among a handful of organizations that can openly talk about reaching for a title appearance here in August without eliciting laughter. This is a different team when Schaub's in the lineup, but the Texans hammered the Cincinnati Bengals in last year's playoffs with their starting quarterback in street clothes.

The Texans' young defense and power running game, this team's bread and butter, make that a possibility. Schaub and Johnson, for so long, had to win games alone. We're excited about the Texans this year because of the pieces surrounding them. They'll be tested, and Super Bowl chatter doesn't play well with opponents, but we don't have a problem with proud talk here at the start.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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