2012: Year of the Texans

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

SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -3

PREDICTION: Titans 19, Texans 17

BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER

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"

Monday, December 10 —

at New England

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: By December, this has a chance to be touted as a "preview of the AFC Championship Game." The Texans are one of the few teams in the league that can get into a shootout with the Patriots and still win. And frankly, if it's a tight defensive game, the Texans would be even more comfortable.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Look at the Patriots — Tom Brady has a Brazilian supermodel wife, head coach Bill Belichick is a home-wrecking machine, owner Robert Kraft has a 32-year-old girlfriend who would fit perfectly in Cinemax softcore porn, and then there's Gronk. I mean, good lord, GRONK! Yeah, the Texans aren't quite ready for this stage yet.

SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Patriots -6 1/2

PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Texans 21

BUCKET RATING: STEAL

Sunday, December 16 — vs Indianapolis

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: The Colts are a team that's in rebuild mode, albeit an accelerated rebuild mode with Andrew Luck as the precocious quarterback of the future. Hard to believe that when the Colts made this trip last season, Kerry Collins was their starting quarterback. (Somewhere, he just fumbled again. He might be grocery shopping, but he just dropped something. Guaranteed.)

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: In a weird quirk in the 2012 schedule, the Texans don't catch the Colts until Weeks 15 and 17, meaning that Luck (who already looks fantastic in the preseason) will have 13 games under his belt. Delightful.

SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -9 1/2

PREDICTION: Texans 24, Colts 14

BUCKET RATING: MUST WIN

Sunday, December 23 — vs Minnesota

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: It seems like in every game, the Texans either face one of the marquee quarterbacks in the league or they face a green, raw rookie or second-year guy. So here comes Christian Ponder, this week's serving of Filet-O-QB. Dinner is served, Messrs. Barwin and Cushing!

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Andre Johnson and Arian Foster get stuck in line Christmas shopping at the Galleria? I have no idea.

SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -10

PREDICTION: Texans 38, Vikings 17

BUCKET RATING: MUST WIN

Sunday, December 30 —

at Indianapolis

WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: These two teams will have played two weeks ago, so pretty much the same reasons apply.

WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Two things: First, the Texans have never won in Indianapolis, and if they didn't win in Indy last year, when the Colts were the worst team in the league, then frankly, there's no such thing as an automatic win there. Second, there's an outside chance the Texans may be resting guys in Week 17, like last season, when we saw Jake Delhomme almost become the first 65-year-old to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback in league history.

SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -5 1/2

PREDICTION: Texans 21, Colts 20

BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER

TO SUM THINGS UP:

MUST WIN (7) — vs Miami, at Jacksonville, vs Tennessee, vs Buffalo, vs Jacksonville, vs Indianapolis, vs Minnesota

Like last year, I have the Texans clean-sweeping the must-win category, and frankly, given the quality of quarterbacks they play in the coin flipper and steal games, 6-1 might be the minimum requirement to have a shot at a first-round bye.

COIN FLIPPERS (8) — at Denver, at New York, vs Green Bay, vs Baltimore, at Chicago, at Detroit, at Tennessee, at Indianapolis

I have them 4-4 in these coin flipper games, including a road loss in the division to Tennessee. It's too soon to say this team is good enough to avoid a bad loss or two, so on the road in the division is a pretty good place to predict that.

STEALS (1): at New England

So, tack on the loss to New England and look at where we are! 11-5 and AFC South champions for a second year in a row! Movin' on up!

And, dare I say, a trend.

YOUR BEST BETS

DENVER BRONCOS UNDER 8 1/2 wins (+140) — We all know why Denver is being mentioned as one of those teams on the short list to win the Super Bowl this season — Peyton Manning. Of course, a season win total of 8 1/2 (even with OVER juice of -170) is not a "Super Bowl contender" number. Vegas knows the deal, and the deal is this — subtract Manning from the equation for a second, and examine what he is walking into. Based on their record last season, you might say, "It's already an 8-8 team, Sean!" In record, you're right, but look at the season point differential of -81. That's much closer to Jacksonville (-86) and Cleveland (-89) than it is to the remaining playoff teams. When the Broncos lost in 2011, they lost huge; when they won, they generally needed a heavy dosage of luck to eke out close wins. Point being, Peyton Manning is walking into something much closer to a 5-11 team than an 8-8 team. Add into that equation an unfortunate first-place schedule (six 2011 playoff teams and two division games in the first eight games), and I LOVE the value of the Broncos under at +140.

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1 comments
Weck
Weck

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

 
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