2012: Year of the Texans

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

The Jags made major upgrades to their receiving corps, drafting Justin Blackmon and signing free agent Laurent Robinson. Will that be enough to scare the Texans? Probably not, but weaponwise, compared to Tannehill, Gabbert has the keys to the fucking Death Star. (Robinson, by the way, is the early favorite for "secondary receiver most likely to scorch Kareem Jackson for 137 yards and two touchdowns.")

Assuming he ever returns from his holdout, Maurice Jones-Drew always gives the Texans trouble, and if there's one Achilles heel with this Texans defense, it's defending the run between the tackles. If the Jags get a lead, they might be able to burn some clock with MJD.

The new Jags owner, Shahid Khan, has a fabulous heel wrestling manager mustache to go along with his equally fabulous heel wrestling manager name. This has to count for something.

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"

All that said...


PREDICTION: Texans 23, Jaguars 16


Sunday, September 23 — at Denver

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: There was a feeling last season (and, frankly, this coming season) that the Texans won the AFC South by default. For more than a decade, the division had been ruled by Peyton Manning, and Manning in particular had ruled the Texans, losing to them just twice in nine seasons. Is Manning now in a Denver Bronco uniform? Yes. But I have to imagine that the Texans, now equipped to take out a decade's worth of frustration on Manning, would like to make a statement that they would have won the division in 2011 even if Manning had been healthy (which they might very well have).

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: The Broncos have an absolutely brutal slate of games early in the season, including Pittsburgh at home in Week 1 (Welcome back, Peyton!) and a road trip to Atlanta in Week 2. There's an outside chance that the Broncos start out the season 0-2, and a really good chance the Texans start out 2-0. You see where I'm going with this? Football homeostasis, my friends. Texans 2-1 and Broncos 1-2 sounds more logical than Texans 3-0 and Broncos 0-3.


PREDICTION: Broncos 24, Texans 21


Sunday, September 30 — vs Tennessee

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: Did I say that the Broncos have a tough early-season schedule? Well, the Titans are saying, "Really, Sean? REALLY?" Tennessee starts off the 2012 campaign with a home game against New England (loss), a road trip to San Diego (loss), and another home game versus Detroit (loss). That's 0-3, and unlike Denver, which at least has Manning to lean on during the rough times, the Titans will be starting Jake Locker against that gauntlet of a schedule, which is like trying to win Dancing with the Stars with a clubfoot.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Wow, let me just say as an aside, on a non-Titans-related note, that it is really hard to find reasons for the Texans to lose some of these games. This is a damn good football team we have, Houston. So my reasons for losing are likely to get weirder and weirder as we go along. So back to the Titans...how do the Texans lose a home game to a Jake Locker-led team? Well, they lose if Jake Locker is kidnapped by terrorists, that's how.


PREDICTION: Texans 27, Titans 17


Monday, October 8 — at New York Jets

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: Entering "LIST" mode again. Engaged. FIRE!:

1. This is a team that willfully created a quarterback controversy this offseason by bringing in Tim Tebow. Only the Jets would knowingly create potential locker-room strife by bringing in a God-fearing quarterback with a cult following to compete with their womanizing incumbent quarterback. Oh, and did I mention that Tebow can't throw? This is like a pit bull owner with a one-room apartment happily buying a cat — a cat that misses the litter box by five yards every time it poops.

2. And as long as we're on Tebow — highly overrated, spastically energetic, on a path for an assistant coaching job by age 28...wouldn't Tebow have made the perfect Duke point guard?

3. This is a team that had enough training-camp brawls to justify bringing in Dana White as their next general manager.

4. There's a 50-50 chance Antonio Cromartie will have tired legs from impregnating somebody 24 hours before the game. (Hell, at this point, if I were an opposing wide receiver, I'd be afraid of him impregnating me just by breathing on me or something.)

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: This is the first of several "prime time" games the Texans will play in 2012. It's amazing — for a team that played one game outside of a Sunday afternoon in 2011, the Texans play five this season. If the Texans were a Hooters waitress, they just got moved from the Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime shift ("C" team at best) to happy hours and nights Thursday through Sunday ("Lauren Tannehill" team, baby!)! Playing on the prime-time stage on the road in New York, this may feel a little "new" to these Texans.

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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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