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The New Normal

The Texans start operating like a bona fide NFL team.

YOUR BEST BETS

WASHINGTON REDSKINS UNDER 6½ wins (-165) — Either Rex Grossman or John Beck will be a starting quarterback in the league this season, and will be doing it in a division that includes a Super Bowl favorite and two regular playoff contenders. If that doesn't convince you to climb aboard that "UNDER," then you can't be convinced.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers UNDER 7½ wins (-115) — After watching the Texans preseason game with the Niners, I am of firm belief that Jim Harbaugh is tanking the 2011 season so he can get the first overall pick in the draft and be reunited with his Stanford protégé Andrew Luck. And I would even go so far as to say his taking Nevada's Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft is a front so he can say he wasn't tanking this season. "Why would I intentionally put a bad team out there to get a quarterback? I mean, I drafted Colin Kaepernick last season!" Which is like saying, "Why would I want Megan Fox when I'm perfectly happy with Sarah Jessica Parker?"

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.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS UNDER 11½ wins (-115) — This isn't based on anything ultra-particular other than I have a really hard time betting on teams to go 12-4, so why not go opposite? Especially on a team that is not the best defensively (25th in yards allowed) and that's playing a first-place schedule. (The Pats' first six games include three away games and home games with the Chargers, Jets and Cowboys. Not easy.)

DENVER BRONCOS OVER 5½ wins (-130) — It's a new day in Denver, and for gamblers, thankfully this number is based on last year's wretched team that finished with the second overall pick in the draft. The whole Josh McDaniels "Wunderkind" thing seemed to work out for a while. If you remember, the Broncos started out the McDaniels Era 6-0, and it felt like the first 90 minutes of Big, when Josh Baskin was running a billion-dollar toy company as a 13-year-old kid. Unfortunately, in this Broncos version of Big, instead of inventing a cool interactive comic book, Baskin invents a football action figure that circumcises babies and takes 30 seconds to throw the ball (Call it "Super Tebow"). It's the John Fox show in 2011, and don't look now but the Broncos open with home games against the Raiders and Bengals and a road trip to Tennessee. 3-0 is not out of the question.

KEVIN KOLB, Leading league in passing yards (25/1) — The Cardinals are all in on Kolb to the tune of six years and $63 million. Not coincidentally, they're also all in on Larry Fitzgerald to the even sweeter tune of eight years, $120 million, which means that Kolb isn't getting paid to hand the ball off to Beanie Wells. At 25/1, this is a much better value than some of the heavyweights on the board. (By the way, as bad as the NFC West is, if the Cardinals don't win that division with a healthy Kolb, is he automatically overpaid? Unless the Rams, 49ers and Seahawks become above-.500 teams all of a sudden, I say yes.)

LeGARRETTE BLOUNT, Leading league in rushing yards (18/1) — Do I think LeGarrette Blount will win the rushing title? I'm doubtful. But at 18/1, do I like the value? Yes, yes I do. (Am I annoyed by the way I keep asking myself rhetorical questions? Sure, sure I am.) Go back and look at Blount's 2010 season. He rushed for just over 1,000 yards, averaged five yards a carry and didn't start getting regular carries until Week 7, giving him the most dynamic "second half of a season for a guy who played no ball in the first half of the season" since Jimmy Chitwood carried Hickory High to an Indiana state title in the 1950's. Hard to believe this is the same guy whose career appeared to be over after a sucker punch and one bad night against Boise State in 2009.

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6 comments
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HECTEC
HECTEC

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.

The OSD
The OSD

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.

PeterJakes
PeterJakes

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

Jared
Jared

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.

 
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