I'll say it: Texans a favorite in 2012

I’ll go against my own credo here for one post.

Generally if you ask me now how I like a team next year, I’m going to ask for time. Can I see what they do in free agency? Can I see how they draft? Can I see what everyone else does?

But as the Texans wrap things up today, it’s hard not to look at them with a great deal of positivity. They’ve got a green neon up arrow attached to them, flashing brightly.

Never mind losing Mario Williams for the year, never mind how much time they played without Andre Johnson. If Matt Schaub hadn’t suffered a serious foot injury at Tampa Bay on Nov. 13, the Texans very well could have been one of the top two seeds in the playoffs and very well could have been the most well-rounded team in the AFC playoff field.

“You always wonder a little bit and you always will,” linebacker Brian Cushing said. “But you’ve got to play with what you’re dealt and what you have. The adversity we went through, next year’s team is going to be so much stronger from it.”

It’s dangerous to presume a team picks up where it left off.

Everybody starts from zero when training camp opens and Gary Kubiak will have to sell his guys on that, make sure that no one heads into the offseason thinking they’ve made it.

Presuming the mindset is right and everyone is healthy, this is a team that should head into the 2012 season with as good a chance to represent that AFC in the Super Bowl in New Orleans as anyone.

“We’re going to get better every year,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “The sooner we can back on the field, the better. This is our first time around on the playoffs and I know that we will be back. The sky is the limit for this team.”