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2013 NFL Analysts Predictions: AFC South Playoff Team

By JULIE TAKAHASHI, SportsRadio 610
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(Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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Houston (CBS Houston) – The Houston Texans have higher expectations with better talent this 2013-2014 season. Anything less than reaching the Super Bowl will be a disappointment.

The Texans have advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs the last two seasons, but this season is different; the goal is Superbowl.

“That’s the goal, that’s the number one goal,” 2012 defensive player of the year J.J. Watt said on expectations. “Obviously, every team in the league has the same goal this time of year, but around here there is one focus, there is one goal, and everybody is working towards that.”

The return of linebacker Brian Cushing should be a boost to the play on the field defensively. “Bulls On Parade” was at its best early last season before Cushing tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Week 5, but after losing the “heart” of their defense for the rest of the season, their squad suffered.

“I think it’s obviously our main goal and our final goal, but there are a lot of steps that lead up to that,” linebacker Brian Cushing said of reaching the Super Bowl. “It’s mentioned here and there, but the main thing is to take the next step and, game-by-game, in order for us to first make the playoffs, we have to have a good enough record and, for us to make the Super Bowl, we have to win in the playoffs. There’s a ton of steps before we start talking about the Super Bowl and it becomes a realization. It’s one of those things that we have a lot of work to do before that’s a real understanding.”

Houston opens their season on Monday Night Football, September 9 at San Diego.

Here is a list of NFL analysts and their predictions of the AFC South (NFL.com):
AFC SOUTH

Judy Battista: Houston Texans. The Texans have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, are still probably a year away in their roster overhaul.

Gil Brandt: Indianapolis Colts. The Colts won 11 games in 2012 despite being outscored by 30 points. They have an outstanding quarterback in Andrew Luck and an improving defense.

Albert Breer: Indianapolis Colts. He might no longer be getting the kind of hype his contemporaries are, but Andrew Luck will prove — again — why he’s been considered a transcendent prospect for years.

Bucky Brooks: Houston Texans. The Texans’ ultra-efficient offense garners the headlines, but the J.J. Watt-led defense is what will spark Houston to another deep postseason run.

Jeff Darlington: Houston Texans. It’s not just about making the playoffs anymore; it’s about what the Texans do when they get there.

Elliot Harrison: Houston Texans. Pardon the pun, but the Indianapolis Colts don’t have the horses to keep up with Houston in the AFC South, particularly on defense.

Daniel Jeremiah: Houston Texans. I wanted to pick the Indianapolis Colts for this division, but I just couldn’t do it. Houston’s front seven will lead the Texans to another AFC South title

Kimberly Jones: Indianapolis Colts. The defense is better and so is the QB. Coach Chuck Pagano’s got a good thing going.

Ian Rapoport: Houston Texans. For the second year in a row, it’s tough to find a hole in this sound team — and Andre Johnson has finally gotten some help.

Adam Schein: Houston Texans. Coach Gary Kubiak has the most complete squad in the AFC.

Michael Silver: Houston Texans. Talented as these guys are, I still can’t shake the memory of the Monday night massacre they suffered in Foxborough last December (and wonder if they’re lightweights).

Follow Julie Takahashi on Twitter: @Julie_Takahashi

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