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Early scouting report: Houston Texans

The Sun will take a look at all 13 of the Ravens' 2010 opponents. Today's early scouting report is on the Houston Texans, the Ravens’ opponent in Week 14:

Head coach: Gary Kubiak (31-33 overall)

2009 record: 9-7

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Biggest addition: K Neil Rackers. The Texans signed the former Arizona Cardinal to a two-year, $4.1 million contract to increase the competition at kicker. Kris Brown, last season's kicker, missed 11 field goals last season. Whoever wins will make this a position of strength.

Key loss: CB Dunta Robinson. The Texans didn't blink when they lost their top cornerback to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. Houston drafted CB Kareem Jackson in the first round and immediately placed him with the first team on the first day of offseason practices. He could make one of the biggest impacts of any defensive rookie this year.

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Question mark: Can RB Steve Slaton rebound? Slaton must prove he can bounce back from neck surgery and regain his form from 2008, when he rushed for 1,282 yards. The Texans, though, made sure they have another option if Slaton falters. Houston drafted 220-pound rookie Ben Tate (from Stephen Decatur High School in Salisbury) in the second round for a reason.

Projected 2010 finish: 11-5, second in the AFC South. The Texans have more talent than they've ever had. Of course, that's been said the past couple of years and Houston has fallen short of the playoffs each time. The reason why it'll be different this year is urgency. Another disappointing season likely will end Kubiak's tenure. That's why the Texans will finally live up to expectations.

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