2012: Year of the Texans

Assessing all their strengths and weaknesses, we could be looking at a repeat or better.

So where do the games on the 2012 slate stack up when we start applying the Pendergast Method? Well, let's take a look:

Must wins, 7: vs Miami, at Jacksonville, vs Tennessee, vs Buffalo, vs Jacksonville, vs Indianapolis, vs Minnesota

Coin flippers, 8: at Denver, at New York, vs Green Bay, vs Baltimore, at Chicago, at Detroit, at Tennessee, at Indianapolis

Any hopes of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Houston hinge on the health of quarterback Matt Schaub.
Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher
Any hopes of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Houston hinge on the health of quarterback Matt Schaub.
Linebackers Connor Barwin (left) and Brian Cushing (right) are two of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips's fiercest "Bulls on Parade"
Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher
Linebackers Connor Barwin (left) and Brian Cushing (right) are two of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips's fiercest "Bulls on Parade"

Steals, 1: at New England

In the event that this is your first season employing the Pendergast Method, I always like to go through the full disclosure of the previous season's results, and as you'll see, largely because of injuries and a late-season swoon, the game-to-game results were all over the board. All was well that ended well, as my 10-6 prediction was correct, but truthfully, if Matt Schaub had stayed healthy, the Pendergast Method would probably have undersold the Texans in 2011.

Here are 2011's Pendergast Method designations:

2011 Must wins, 7: vs Oakland, vs Jacksonville, vs Cleveland, @ Jacksonville, @ Cincinnati, vs Carolina, vs Tennessee

2011 Coin flippers, 6: vs Indianapolis, @ Miami, vs Pittsburgh, @ Tennessee, @ Tampa Bay, vs Atlanta

2011 Steals, 3: @ New Orleans, @ Baltimore, @ Indianapolis

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

2011 Must wins: 4-3

2011 Coin flippers: 6-0

2011 Steals: 0-3

This is the classic ledger of a team whose nucleus is just beginning to taste success for the first time collectively, or, in the case of the Texans, for the first time in franchise history. They lost a few games they shouldn't have (although to be fair, two of the "Must win" losses were post-Schaub injury), they couldn't get over the hump against good teams on the road (couldn't in the playoffs, either), but they took care of business in all of the 50-50 games.

By the way, a 2012 regular season with this exact same profile — 4-3 in "Must wins," undefeated in "Coin flippers" and winless in "Steals" — would mean 12-4 for the Texans.

And Gary Kubiak would take that in a nanosecond.

Onward and upward...


Sunday, September 9 — vs Miami

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: There's an episode of The Office in Season 4 when Michael Scott, in order to prove his survival skills to his fellow employees, decides to head into the wilderness with no supplies and wearing only his business suit. On several levels, Michael was ill-equipped to deal with the dearth of accommodations that such a voluntary plight entailed, and by about four hours in, he had his suit pants wrapped around his head like a bandanna and was eating poisonous mushrooms. I bring this up because Dolphin rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be making his first start on the road, against the No. 2 defense in the league, with Davone Bess as his No. 1 wide receiver. Ryan Tannehill is heading for a "Michael Scott in the woods" moment folks, and not even Dwight Shrute can save Tannehill for what Wade Phillips is going to have for him.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: While Tannehill may lack experience and may lack offensive weapons, one thing he does have is a smoking hot wife. Viewers of the Texas-Texas A&M game last Thanksgiving will remember the gorgeous Lauren Tannehill, who was shown so many times during the game that she was trending on Twitter ahead of #Turkey, #pilgrims and #NdamaukongSuhIsAnAssholeBecause. The only thing I can think of is maybe Lauren Tannehill does one of those slow strolls along the sideline in a bikini while her husband is on the field, and the Texans defense all get distracted at the same time while the Dolphins score points. Kind of like Miss Elizabeth did to Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase in the main event at Summerslam 1988. Exact same thing.


PREDICTION: Texans 27, Dolphins 10


Sunday, September 16 — at Jacksonville

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: You can tell a lot by a man's hair. Go back and think about all the great leaders at the quarterback position in NFL history and ask yourself, "Has there ever been a quarterback who has been able to consistently lead a team above mediocrity who had flowing locks?" I'm not talking about Kenny Stabler's greasy truck-stop mullet; I'm talking Vidal Sassoon-type shit. The answer is no.** Well, Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert has flowing locks. Flowing, goddamned blond locks. On September 16, Antonio Smith and J.J. Watt will stomp him into the turf. How's that for solid analysis?

**The closest thing to "Yes" for the flowing-locks question would be Tom Brady, but since winning three Super Bowls, Brady's life is one big heat check now. I'm pretty sure by 2014, Brady will be running out of the tunnel to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," wearing rainbow spandex and waving one of those rhythmic gymnastic streamers, just because he can. And guess what? He'll still win 13 games, go to the Super Bowl and bang Gisele that night. HE. DOESN'T. COUNT.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: As of this writing, here's what we know:

Despite his girlish do, Gabbert has actually looked reasonably competent in the preseason. Now when Wade Phillips dials up a blitz or 50 in Week 2, will that matter? Time will tell.

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Funny. I always thought "The Pendergast Method" was a term used for the proper way to polish silver.

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