We are breaking into the elite of both conferences now, with Houston being right there. Gary Kubiak has done an excellent job lifting this franchise out of its expansion roots; turning them into a dangerously complete team.
That said, they still have much to prove in the playoffs before they become an automatic Top 5 in my power rankings. By the end of the 2013 season, I believe it will come down to three teams in the AFC for the Super Bowl title shot; New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and these Houston Texans.
8. Houston Texans (2012 Record: 12-4)
I'm not sure what it is about Houston, but their good football teams always seem to end up bridesmaids. I'm thinking back to the Houston Oiler days from both the 1970's and 1990's and how they always seemed to be second or third best in the conference. The Texans now appear to have the same jibe to them. Great talent, but just can't seem to break through to the upper crust of the AFC.
The Texans felt they needed another offensive threat opposite Andre Johnson, so they picked up DeAndre Hopkins in the first round. Add that to Owen Daniels and Matt Schaub should have a stellar regular season. The regular season isn't the problem for the Texans though, as they have been unable to break through the AFC powerhouses in the playoffs.
Personally, I think they make it to the AFC Championship game finally this year as the AFC North powerhouses look like they are finally going to end up falling back to Earth - regardless of where they rank in this pre-season post. The Texans, however, will realize their peak just in time to be buzz-sawed by the Denver Broncos who will undoubtedly complete the revenge tour in heroic fashion. At least that's my, ah, unbiased opinion.