Pete Prisco, the senior NFL writer for CBSSports.com, thinks the Texans are one of five teams next season that can follow the New Orleans Saints' formula and go from a non-playoff team to a possible Super Bowl winner.
The Saints were 8-8 in 2008 but had a quarterback, Drew Brees, who led the league in passing yards. The Texans were 9-7 in 2009 but had a quarterback, Matt Schaub, who led the league in passing yards. Prisco cites the Texans' passing attack featuring Schaub, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels as the primary reason the Texans might be able to make a Super Bowl leap in 2010.
Prisco calls for the Texans to improve their running game, which ranked 30th in the league last season. He also tabs defensive end Antonio Smith, a 2009 free agent addition, as a "player who must step up." That's a point on which I've got to disagree with Prisco – Smith was perhaps the Texans' most disruptive defensive lineman in 2009 who gave the defense flexibility in pass-rushing situations because of his ability to slide inside to defensive tackle. Just yesterday, Texans owner Bob McNair called Smith "a great player for us." It's safe to say the team is happy with that investment.