By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Must wins, 7: vs Tennessee, vs St. Louis, at Arizona, vs Oakland, vs Jacksonville, at Jacksonville, at Tennessee
Coin flippers, 8: at San Diego, at Baltimore, vs Seattle, at Kansas City, vs Indianapolis, vs New England, at Indianapolis, vs Denver
Steals, 1: at San Francisco
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, thanks to a season that saw the Texans emerge victorious over every sub-.500 team on their slate, while losing resoundingly to four playoff teams, I was pretty close!
Here are 2012's Pendergast Method designations:
2012 Must wins, 7: vs Miami, at Jacksonville, vs Tennessee, vs Buffalo, vs Jacksonville, vs Indianapolis, vs Minnesota
2012 Coin flippers, 8: at Denver, at New York Jets, vs Green Bay, vs Baltimore, at Chicago, at Detroit, at Tennessee, at Indianapolis
2012 Steals, 1: at New England
So in a season where they needed to win six of seven "must wins," split eight "coin flippers" and maybe steal one win, the Texans went as follows:
2012 Must wins: 6-1
2012 Coin flippers: 6-2
2012 Steals: 0-1
This is the classic ledger of a team whose nucleus has matured to the point that they either pound bad teams or find a way to win even when they bring their C- game against bad teams (think Jacksonville and Detroit overtime games). Unfortunately, because of a variety of factors, the Texans still have trouble on the big stage against good teams with great quarterbacks.
By the way, a 2013 regular season with this exact same profile – 6-1 in "Must wins," 6-2 in "coin flippers," and winless in "steals" – would mean 12-4 for the Texans.
Gary Kubiak would sign up for that right now.
Monday, September 9 – at San Diego
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: There was a time not too long ago when Philip Rivers held the title of "best quarterback not to win a Super Bowl," kind of like the Lee Westwood of NFL quarterbacks. If I had to draw a Hollywood analogy, Rivers was like David Hasselhoff in his prime, a nice little acting novelty whom nobody took all that seriously, but everyone knew who he was. Unfortunately for the Chargers, in the last two seasons, Rivers has morphed into the version of Hasselhoff that went viral on the Internet rolling around drunk and shirtless making love to a cheeseburger while his daughter filmed him and uploaded him to YouTube. In other words, Rivers is sloppy, terrible and possibly making love to a cheeseburger. Turnovers will also be served on opening night.
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: The Chargers have a new head coach in Mike McCoy. If you don't know who he is, McCoy was the offensive coordinator in Denver in 2011 when John Fox decided to turn to Tim Tebow midseason and asked McCoy to tailor an NFL offense to suit his needs, which is like handing a producer the script for Breaking Bad and telling him that Pee Wee Herman has been signed to play Walter White. Well, somehow McCoy coaxed enough out of Tebow to help the Broncos make the playoffs and win a playoff game. Based on this evidence, McCoy might have an IQ of 275, which definitely means he could win an NFL regular season game against Gary Kubiak.
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -3
PREDICTION: Texans 27, Chargers 21
BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER
Sunday, September 15 – vs Tennessee
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: Last season, Jake Locker was knocked out of the home game with the Titans early on a hit by Glover Quin, which meant Matt Hasselbeck came in to replace him. Texans defensive end Antonio Smith told me on my radio show the following Monday that the Texans were actually more nervous about their chances of winning the game once Locker was knocked out. In other news, Locker is the Titans's starter again this season.
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: The Titans still have running back Chris Johnson, and with him there is no in-between – he either runs for 248 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns or he mopes to 12 yards on nine carries and winds up eating chili on uStream later that night. He's the only running back in the league who I think gets PMS. If the Texans catch him on the wrong end of his running-back menstrual cycle, the Titans might hang in.
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -7 1/2
PREDICTION: Texans 31, Titans 14
BUCKET RATING: MUST WIN
Sunday, September 22 – at Baltimore
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: This is a drastically different Baltimore team than the one that won the Super Bowl back in February. Anquan Boldin is gone, which means Jacoby Jones is the Ravens's number two wide receiver (never a good thing), and more than that, inside linebacker and future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is no longer there to give his maniacal, howling pre-game speeches. That said....
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: .....Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco recently revealed that Lewis's pregame rants were the NFL equivalent of a nonsensical Ultimate Warrior promo in WWE: "If you listened to those speeches, a lot of them didn't even make sense. He meant everything he was saying, but I didn't know what he was talking about 90 percent of the time." I feel better now.
I rarely comment online. It all goes out with the tide of ignorance. But this was a very pleasurable article to read, though less than orgasmic. 11-5 sounds about right, barring widespread or catastrophic injuries.
I do think your patience chart is a little unfair to McNair, because Kubiak/Schaub were trying to take an expansion team first to break-even, then to playoff contenders, which they have done. The other coach/quarterback combinations you compare them to are all with established and successful franchises. Also, all those yards Schaub racked up in 2009 and 2010 would not have been meaningless if the Texans defense had not blown so many second half leads. The 2010 team could very easily have been 10-6 instead of 6-10, which is probably why Kubiak kept his job. It was only after Arian Foster and Wade Phillips arrived that Kubiak went more to the ball-control offense, though it does seem obvious that he is more comfortable with this type of game plan.
Contract or no contract, the pressure is on Schaub this year far more than any other player, and everybody including Schaub knows it. He's not going to get far on foot, and he's not Brady or Rodgers, but I think he's good enough. For the entire time Schaub has been here, the bigger problem has been on the other side of the line, even including the games at the end of last year when Schaub was really bad. It wasn't Schaub who put em in the hole in New England, it was the defense. The defense is way better now than it was three years ago, and with Cushing back and (we can hope) the impact of Ed Reed, it should be better than it was last year. But as you point out, they still need to prove they can beat the Superbowl quarterbacks -- there are only four that are head and shoulders above the rest and we all know who they are -- in a big game. Schaub and Kubiak can maybe win a regular season shoot-out against San Diego or Baltimore, or even Seattle or San Francisco, though it's unlikely. But to beat New England or Denver in the play-offs, and that is where the road to the Superbowl will most likely lead at 11-5, the defense has to hold them to three TDs and a field goal, or less.
If all the key pieces are healthy, who's to say it can't be done?
30-27 Texans, AFC champs.
(Then the Niners will pitch a virtual shut out in the Superbowl, sort of like Astros going down 4-0 in the World Series...)
The problem here is Gary Kubiak emotionally invested in an average QB that reminded him of himself back when he was riding the pine behind John Elway. Bob McNair emotionally invested in Kubiak in an almost father/son way. What Kubiak is doing is running the old Broncos offense with a QB closer to Bernie Kosar than John Elway. What makes matters worse is if Kubiak is fired, good old horse trader/thief Bum Phillips will amble into McNair's office and humbly suggest Wade will be "good" for the Texans. Yep, things are pretty bleak in H-town.
" ...and Tim Tebow is a bust." !!! OMG, the perfect line, fits the blackjack analogy and everything. It was right there, a bird's nest on the ground. Aaargh!
hey, man. cheer up! season has not started yet. it's gonna be fun to watch whatever happens. hope springs eternal!