After capturing their first division title and playoff victory last season, the Houston Texans square off against the Miami Dolphins Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
Houston's top-ranked defense of 2011 could be even stronger, despite the loss of defensive end Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills in free agency. Linebacker Brian Cushing, who led the team in tackles last season with 114, and second year defensive end J.J. Watt anchor the Texans defense this season.
Houston quarterback Matt Schaub returns after missing the Texans final seven games last season.
Quarterback Matt Schaub returns after missing the Texans' final seven games last season due to a broken foot. Five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson remains his main target.
Running back Arian Foster was originally listed as questionable, but is expected to play Sunday. Foster led the team in rushing last season with 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Houston appears to be at full strength, which could prove difficult for a reeling Dolphins team.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill makes his first NFL start Sunday, but it is unclear who will step up as his top receiver. The Dolphins have struggled to find a go-to receiver after trading Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears during the offseason.
Five-year veteran Davone Bess and rookie Rishard Matthrews are Miami's top receivers on the depth chart and both are expected to play.
One player Tannehill can rely on is running back Reggie Bush, who rushed for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Protecting Tannehill is offensive tackle Jake Long, who is listed as probable.
The match-up begins at 1 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast on CBS or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: Houston is favored by 13 points.
Prediction: Houston appears to be one of the most completed teams in the league when healthy, and is a favorite to win the Super Bowl. Tannehill's will struggle against the best defense in the NFL, especially with limited talent a wide receiver. Houston will stop Bush from gaining ground, and force Tannehill to make mistakes early.
Predicted Score: Houston 31, Miami 7
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