The New Normal

The Texans start operating like a bona fide NFL team.

2010 Must wins, 6: @ Oakland, vs New York Giants, vs Kansas City, vs Tennessee, @ Denver, vs Jacksonville

2010 Coin flippers, 7: vs Indianapolis, @ Washington, vs Dallas, vs San Diego, @ Jacksonville, vs Baltimore, @ Tennessee

2010 Steals, 3: @ Indianapolis, @ New York Jets, @ Philadelphia

Arian Foster's hamstring will need to be full strength if the Texans are going to run to daylight.
Aaron M. Sprecher
Arian Foster's hamstring will need to be full strength if the Texans are going to run to daylight.
Mario Williams's becoming more comfortable at linebacker would make everyone happy.
Aaron M. Sprecher
Mario Williams's becoming more comfortable at linebacker would make everyone happy.

So in a season where they needed to win five of the "Must wins," four of the "Coin flippers" and steal one win, they went as follows:

2010 Must wins: 4-2

2010 Coin flippers: 2-5

2010 Steals: 0-3

So they were deficient in every single category. That's how you get to be 6-10.

Onward we go...


Sunday, September 11 — vs Indianapolis

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: Perhaps in a cruel joke from the schedule maker, the Texans not only open with the same opponent as they did last season, but it's a repeat of the only truly complete game the team played all year. (Yes, the Texans actually peaked on September 12 in 2010.) It's like your buddy in high school who got no chicks his entire life, miraculously dated the hottest cheerleader for like a week and then went back to getting no chicks. (I had a friend who this happened to in high school. And no, it wasn't me.) Naturally, you and your boys remind him of his return to inadequacy by hanging pictures of her in his locker every day. It almost feels like the schedule maker is intentionally reminding the Texans of their 2010 fiasco. "Hey guys, remember that ONE good game you played all of last year?" I have no idea how all that maps to the Texans winning other than that they've seen this scenario before. Oh, and Peyton Manning appears to be unlikely to play as the nerves continue to regenerate in his neck. That matters.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: First of all, the Texans only lose this game if Manning plays. If a cobweb-covered Kerry Collins starts this game, you could put orange cones on the field in place of defensive backs — the Texans won't lose. (Truth be told, an orange cone with a cutout of Kareem Jackson's face stapled to it would've been an upgrade last season over the actual Kareem.) But if Manning plays, and the defense isn't improved, and Arian Foster is running like Fred Sanford with that hamstring by the third quarter. Well...

SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -8.5 (-3 if Manning were probable)

PREDICTION: Texans 27, Colts 20

BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER (with MUST WIN status if and when Manning is announced as being OUT)

Sunday, September 18 — at Miami

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: They've played the Dolphins pretty tough the last few years, and any time Chad Henne is prominently involved, it's good to be on the side that doesn't have him. Seriously, there's an outside shot that the Texans could catch Kerry Collins and Chad Henne out of the gate, which is like being in a spelling bee and being asked to spell "cat" and "dog" as your first two words.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Letdown factor a week after the Colts game is high, although the Dolphins open the season against a rival of their own in the Patriots, so it probably evens out. And rogue Miami booster Nevin Shapiro is behind bars, so no chance of the roughly 30 former Hurricanes on the Texans roster winding up on South Beach. Um, so turnovers, I guess, would be a way they could lose.


PREDICTION: Texans 23, Dolphins 19


Sunday, September 25 — at New Orleans

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: If they come out of the gates 2-0, the Texans will be riding some serious momentum, and a win in New Orleans to go to 3-0 for the first time in franchise history would take the Texans into a different stratosphere of The Conversation (my proper noun for the ongoing discussion of relevancy). For the first time ever, the team would feel special.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Well, they've never been three games over .500 in franchise history. Ever. Why would 2011 be any different? Also, there's this guy named Drew Brees, which means after potentially playing against Collins (holding out hope) and Henne in Weeks 1 and 2, it will feel like the Texans are on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and going straight from the $100 and $200 questions to the million-dollar question. With Kareem Jackson as their only lifeline.


PREDICTION: Saints 31, Texans 24


Sunday, October 2 — vs Pittsburgh

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: The Texans have always struggled against 3-4 defense teams, but now seeing 3-4 looks in practice every day, they'll be better equipped to handle what the Steelers are throwing at them. Plus, I'm not buying this whole Ben Roethlisberger being a married good guy thing. The time it takes to wash off the stain of being "that guy" (and by "that guy" I mean "doing tequila shots off chicks' stomachs then cornering them in the bathroom" guy) is at least three years.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Maybe it's not so much the 3-4 thing with the Steelers as it is the "smack you in the mouth, pie-face you into the corner and make you call them your daddy" thing. In fact, it's probably more that.

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I dont think this article was long enough. On a sidenote, David Carr's wife attends Texans preseason games? with Dan Pastorini?

todd DeMoss
todd DeMoss

as the Lord can attest, from what I witnessed last night, Olsen's hamstring was the least of her worries in terms of what may torn, indeed.


Is it just me, or does the picture of Mario look like he is a 12 year old girl who just won tickets to a Justin Bieber concert? Great read Sean. Nice pull with the Superman II diner scene.


In all fairness, Bree Olson has a very nice hamstring.


The annual preseason hype around the Texans might be getting old for some, but I say this: at least there IS legitimate reason to be hyped again, and coming off a 6-10 disaster, that wouldn't normally be easy to say. And unlike last year's "blind faith" experiment, the hype is MUCH more deserved this time around. It's just a matter of taking the sense of urgency that was blatantly obvious this offseason and translating it to the field. This team has 11-12 win talent, but still has a lot to prove.

Of all the must-wins I see them needing the mulligan on, I think @JAX is the one. In fact, I'd switch the Tennessee road game with the Jacksonville road game on the list of coin-flippers. The Titans are better (way better), but EverBank is a haunted house from the deepest bowels of hell from which the Texans never seem to get out alive. And Jake Locker isn't as good as Blaine Gabbert.

I think they win 3 of the coin-flippers, and I do think they'll get a steal or two. Not necessarily because I think they're better than those teams, but even last year, when they lost all 3 steal games, they could have easily won two of them were it not for the horrendous pass defense, which is largely fixed. 11-5 is my overall prediction (with a few bottles of Jack stashed in a special palce just in case).

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

If Foster stays healthy, and Kubiak actually uses him for a whole game, I think this may be the year we finally make it to the playoffs. I think everyone knows Kubiak did a horrible job of game management last year. That being said, I have to think there is some kind of personal issue going on between he and Foster. Like the way Tate looked in preseason as a second option.

By the way, did anyone notice if Dan Pastorini is still sitting next to David Carr's wife during every preseason game? I probably would have played poorly here like Carr if I saw that notorious p-hound sitting next to my wife every time I took to the field.