There is one major goal: Beat the Indianapolis Colts.
That is a pretty obvious assessment, but the Texans have made it clear to an unusual extent during training camp, first with Owner Bob McNair expressing that view to USA Today and most recently with Texans Quarterback Matt Schaub very candidly and publicly reiterating the stance.
"It starts with beating the (Indianapolis) Colts in our division, a team that's pretty much owned the AFC South the last few years," Schaub told Jim Corbett of USA Today. "It's time someone else goes out and gets it."
That hasn't been easy for anyone in recent seasons, particularly the Texans, who have lost 15 of 16 games to the Colts since entering the NFL in 2002. And not only have the Texans had a tough time against the Colts historically, in recent seasons the losses have come in particularly frustrating fashion. In the teams last four meetings, the Texas have had a legitimate chances to beat the Colts, holding second-half leads twice last season and once in 2008.In each of the Colts' last two trips to Houston, the Texans have held double-digit leads in the second half, only to have the Colts rally in dramatic, unlikely fashion.
The Colts also have won six of the last seven AFC South titles, which makes it easy to see why the Texans consider the season-opener against Indianapolis a relatively big game – and the upcoming season a critical one.
"We have a great quarterback in Matt Schaub," McNair said. "We had five Pro Bowlers. I don't see any reason why we can't have a top-five offense and defense. But we have to beat the Colts."
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak called this year "do or die."
"The way I look at it, 15 out of 16 times (last season), we had a legit chance to win," Kubiak said. "Our biggest thing is closing games. We have to have guys grow up and make plays at the end. Our job in this business is to get over the hump to play in January. That's where we need to go."
The Texans had their first winning season last season, and it's not just those within the team who believe the season opener crucial to their goals this season.
"The Texans have all kinds of talent," ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth told Corbett. "But one of their big bugaboos mentally is: How do they get over the Colts hump? How do you get to the point where if one bad thing happens, it's not here-we-go-again?"
That, in reality, has been the Texans' biggest issue against the Colts. Will the Texans be able to overcome the Colts' psychological edge this year and get to the post-season? On September 12th, that question will be answered in their first meeting of the regular season.