HOUSTON — By no means are the Texans expecting people to forget the 42-14 beating they took a month ago at Gillette Stadium. They haven’t forgotten it themselves.
The memory is still fresh for wide receiver Andre Johnson. But seeing the way the Texans have been written off by many, Johnson could only shake his head.
“Every team comes into the season with an ultimate goal and that’s winning the Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “There’s steps you have to go through to get to that point and that’s a big one.
“A lot of people say we don’t have a chance. I just laugh at it. We’ll be ready.’’
Coming off a season in which he racked up a career-high 1,598 receiving yards (second in the league) when many said his best years were behind him, Johnson tunes out the doubt.
“I really don’t get caught up in what people say,” Johnson said. “You have to go out and play.
“We know what kind of football team we are. We know if we go out and play well, we’re capable of beating anybody.”
The Texans will have pieces that were not there a month ago.
Tight end Garrett Graham, who sat out the first meeting with lingering effects of a concussion, will likely be on the field, although he sustained another concussion last week against the Bengals.
And Owen Daniels is coming off a team-high seven-catch, 73-yard performance.
“In order for us to get where we want to go, it’s not going to take one guy,” Johnson said. “It’s going to take everybody.”
Reed looks ready
One of the biggest takeaways from last week’s wild-card win was simply a healthy Brooks Reed, who missed four of the final five games with a groin injury.
“Obviously winning’s big, but coming out of the game with him with no setbacks that was huge,” said coach Gary Kubiak. “He took all his snaps, he looked fine.”
The linebacker took no joy in having to watch from the sidelines as the Patriots picked apart what had been a stout Texans defense the previous month.
“It was difficult,” Reed said. “I was so disappointed that I couldn’t play last time, now I get a chance to go down there again.
“We’ve got to come with a different mind-set than we came with last time.”
Wilfork a challenge
One of the Texans’ challenges will be not letting Vince Wilfork wreak the havoc he did last time when he rang up four tackles, a sack, a deflection and a forced fumble. He was dizzyingly active, said rookie center Ben Jones. “I knew he was a really big guy,” Jones said. “But some of the plays he made, I’m like, ‘All right, this guy’s really athletic to be this big.’ ” If there’s a solution, it’s hitting him before he can figure out what’s coming. “You just try to get on him and get on him fast so he can’t read run or pass,” Jones said . . . Defensive end J.J. Watt came to the press conference in a Craig Biggio jersey, a nod to the former Astro who led all Hall of Fame candidates in votes but came up short of induction. “Hall of Famer in my book, man,” Watt said. “I wish he would have gotten in. I think it would’ve been pretty cool. Heck of a ballplayer and he deserved it.”