Looking at the enemy: Houston Texans

Looking at the enemy: Houston Texans
May 7, 2013, 9:00 am
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Now that the schedule is set and the draft is over, CSNBaltimore.com is taking a chronological look at each of the Ravens 2013 opponents.

Week 3: Houston Texans

Date: Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium

2012 Record: 12-4; won AFC South, lost Divisional Round playoff game at New England

Key offseason losses: OLB Connor Barwin (to Philadelphia); FB James Casey (to Philadelphis); S Glover Quin (to Detroit)

Key additions: FB Greg Jones (from Jacksonville); P Shane Lechler (from Oakland); S Ed Reed (from Baltimore)

Top 5 draft picks: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson, 1st round); S D.J. Swearinger (South Carolina, 2nd round); T Brennan Williams (North Carolina, 3rd round); DE Sam Montgomery (LSU, 3rd round); DE Travardo Williams (Connecticut, 4th round)

Overview: When the Texans visit M&T Bank Stadium in September, all eyes will be on the Texans' secondary, where No. 20 should look awfully familiar. Yes, that will be Ed Reed wearing red, white and blue and playing against the Ravens, as strange as that might seem.

Reed recently had arthroscopic hip surgery but is expected back by the middle of training camp.

Reed, who turns 35 in September, isn't the player he once was -- which is one reason the Ravens were willing to let him go -- but the Texans are hoping his toughness and winning mojo can rub off on a team should again be among the league's best but has won just one playoff game in each of the past two years.

This team's strengths begin with reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, and linebacker Brian Cushing is expected to be 100 percent after missing most of last season with a torn ACL suffered in Week 5. Rookie D.J. Swearinger, a second-round pick, will likely get a lot of training camp reps and is expected to be mentored by Reed.

Offensively, the Texans are still waiting for quarterback Matt Schaub to elevate to the elite level and take his team to a Super Bowl (sound familiar?), but running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson are back as offensive cornerstones. The Texans added Clemson wideout DeAndre Hopkins in the first round of the draft.

Last season, the Texans rolled to an 11-1 start -- including a 43-13 beatdown of the Ravens in Houston -- but then lost three of four to end the regular season. Unlike the Ravens, they never recovered in the playoffs, edging the Bengals in the first round before being routed by New England.

The pieces are in place for Houston to make another run, and they are hoping the veteran, proven presence of No. 20 can help them get past the playoff hurdles that have tripped them up the past couple of years.