Hope for the Houston Texans?

Gary Kubiak and team search for their first winning season

2. Their best player (Andre Johnson) missed seven games last season and they still had their best offense to date (perhaps analogous to being the best Saudi Arabian snow skier to date, but take what you can get).

3. The Texans have never before had an assistant coach considered elite within the profession. Maybe offensive-line coach Alex Gibbs can make a notable difference.

And, on the not-so-plus side:

1. They will likely be underdogs in four of their first five games. If they are 1-4, they are out of the playoff picture before Halloween.

2. They finished last in their division last season, and unless Rosevelt Colvin delivers, they added zero substantial free agents.

3. Their running-back game stunk last season, and they go in this season with one of the weakest RB collections in the league.

A Summary...and a Prediction!

Our teenage expert calls them a Top Ten team; our astrological expert says Kubiak will be a freaking genius all year long; our radio guys are slightly on the fence.

What happened to those glorious days of old, when you could just confidently declare the Texans were going to suck each year and be proven correct? It was so much easier to look like a rocket scientist then.

You had Carr at qusarterback, you had Casserly at GM, you had Dom Capers as head coach, a man who thought going for an extra point after a (very rare) touchdown was "too much offense." It wasn't too difficult to predict gloom and doom and sound like you knew what you were talking about.

Now, there's all this stuff like expectations and possibly a winning season. It's enough to make your head spin.

Nevertheless, we will make the following predictions about 2008 in Houston:

1. Andre Johnson will get hurt. When he's not hurt, he will be terrific.

2. The offensive line will still fail at such basic tasks as, say, consistently blocking the opponent.

3. The Texans will go...wait for it...9-7. Playoff fever will grip Houston in the final weeks of the season! And then quickly ­dissipate.

4. Next April, the Texans will use their first draft pick on a defensive lineman, for the 287th time.

6. The sun will rise in the east. Christmas will be on December 25. And Dallas Cowboy fans will remain obnoxious.

richard.connelly@houstonpress.com

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