Houston's Smith selling underdog role

The respect card is in play in Houston.

lastnameSmithDefensive end Antonio Smith saw Vegas odds of the NFL teams still in the playoff picture last week. And the Texans had worse odds than anyone, including the Cowboys and Giants -- when one of those teams was sure not to make the playoffs.

Smith played in the Super Bowl with Arizona before he jumped to the Texans in 2009, and he will do all he can to spread knowledge about the playoff experience.

He’ll also relish the perceived low expectations.

“It’s from scratch right now, but I like that,” he said. “And I am hoping that all the non-Houston Texans fans do that exact same thing, because I really do think that we function better when everybody is against us, when we are the underdog.

“They don’t have to believe or we can be the team least picked to go to the Super Bowl or win the first playoff game. That fuel has helped us in the past and I would love to have it.”

But you’re the third seed playing at home, I said, you can’t pretend no one is expecting you to win?

“They’ve already said it, the Houston Texans are the least picked team to win the Super Bowl, so they already believe it,” he said. “They think everything was just a fluke. That’s why we’ve got to go heard to work and make sure we prove them wrong.”