I'm going with 9-7, though 10 or even 11 wins wouldn't totally surprise me. Having to play the AFC North and NFC South is no walk in the park, and I think that'll have a substantial effect on the bottom line. I also think the Texans will lose a division game or two that they shouldn't to the Titans and/or Jaguars, despite the talent being there for Houston go go 4-2 or 5-1 in the division.
Best Game On The Schedule
While the chance to take on the Steelers in Houston is intriguing, I'm not sold that it'll end well for the Texans. As such, I'd say the best game on the schedule may well be the tilt with the Saints in New Orleans. It should feature two great offenses, and an opportunity for the Houston defense to show that it's no longer a punchline.
Player Who Takes a Step Back This Year
Although I don't think Arian Foster is going to duplicate the amazing season he had last year, he's still going to be plenty good. In other words, I don't think he'll be taking nearly the step back that Brian Cushing will. To be fair, Cushing wasn't any great shakes last year when he returned from his suspension, and he took a sizable step back from the historical rookie season he posted in 2009. Still, I fear that the Brian Cushing who was one of the best LBs in the entire league during his rookie campaign is gone and isn't coming back.
Breakout Player Candidates
Glover Quin. He's been moved from CB to FS, and he could be a game-changer there.
Best Player No One's Heard Of
Thanks to fantasy football, many fans are familiar with the Texans, especially on offense. Not to sidestep the question, but I do think Glover Quin could be a great fit at safety this year, and he's not very well known outside of Houston. Keep an eye on him.
Something That's Overrated
All the freaking out about Mario Williams moving to OLB and the reports that he's not taking to it well. Relax. Wade Phillips runs a scheme that's closer to a 5-2 than a true 3-4, and Super Mario will still have plenty of opportunities to line up as a pseudo-DE. He's going to make an impact wherever they line him up.
Fantasy Football Outlook
Everyone knows that Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster are fantasy stalwarts. One guy who may have slipped through the cracks, thanks to an injury that cut off what was a phenomenal first half of 2009 and slowed him during the first half of 2010, is Owen Daniels. He's looked very good, and I think he's going to have a monster year.
Best Media Personality
Lance Zierlein. Runner-up: John Harris (primarily a college football guru, but he's incredibly insightful about all aspects of the game).
Best Player To Follow On Twitter
Jacoby Jones and/or Arian Foster. Jakespeare used to be the runaway winner, as each of his tweets required the reader to immerse himself into a different dialect. "Jakespearean English," we call it at BRB.