By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans +3 1/2
PREDICTION: Ravens 17, Texans 16
BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER
Sunday, September 29 – vs Seattle
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: Last year, when he was mic'd up for the Ravens game, J.J. Watt told running back Ray Rice he's "eaten burritos bigger than [him]." Ray Rice is most definitely a burrito – round, firm and fully packed. Like Rice, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is small for his position, but he's shaped more like a spicy tuna roll. I'm going to guess J.J. Watt eats sushi, too.
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: That little spicy tuna roll also happens to be a quarterback with elite-level skills. The Monday of anti-Schaub phone calls to my radio show reminding me that the Seahawks got Russell Wilson "IN THE THIRD ROUND OF THE DRAFT" just seems to be destiny.
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans +1
PREDICTION: Texans 23, Seahawks 17
BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER
Sunday, October 6 – at San Francisco
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: If you're looking for a "team that we all think is going to be good, but could struggle early because of a gauntlet schedule," check out the 49ers's early-season slate:
Week 1 vs Green Bay
Week 2 at Seattle (Sunday night)
Week 3 vs Indianapolis
Week 4 at St. Louis (Thursday night)
Week 5 vs Houston
I mean, YIKES! Four playoff teams from last season and a division road game on a Thursday night. What the hell did Jim Harbaugh do to piss off Roger Goodell? (This is not a rhetorical question, by the way. Jim Harbaugh has done at least one thing to piss off every human being on earth. This is known. I want to know specifically what he did to Goodell.)
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: The only logical follow up to the "'Russell Wilson phone call' week from hell" is a week of anti-Schaub calls about the 49ers drafting Colin Kaepernick "IN THE SECOND ROUND OF THE DRAFT!!"
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans +5 1/2
PREDICTION: Niners 27, Texans 17
BUCKET RATING: STEAL
Sunday, October 13 – vs St. Louis
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: If you were making a scale of the most neatly coiffed and manicured NFL head coaches, Jeff Fisher would be at the "zero" end of the scale. With his Flutie-style mullet and indecisive facial hair strategy, Fisher is better suited for Duck Dynasty than an NFL sideline. Gary Kubiak, on the other hand, has a boxed-off buzz cut that is so damn angular and meticulous, it could double as a miniature work bench. Basically, Kubiak's hair is FDR's New Deal of hair; Fisher's hair is Obamacare. I don't know what any of this has to do with the game I'm just glad I got to share these thoughts with you.
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: The NFL quarterback draft class of 2010 is abysmal. The top four guys in that class were Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen, and Colt McCoy. The latter three are literally almost out of the league, so now it's up to Bradford to carry the torch. The odds just seem to dictate he takes a big step forward this season. Also, I can see their rookie slot guy Tavon Austin tearing the ass out of Brice McCain for, like, 10 catches for 179 yards or something.
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -6
PREDICTION: Texans 20, Rams 13
BUCKET RATING: MUST WIN
Sunday, October 20 – at Kansas City
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: Because after having beaten the Rams the week before, this game will be for the Missouri state championship! (I don't think that Bob McNair would put a plaque shaped like the state of Missouri up in the Texans's trophy showcase, but it's not off the board completely either.)
WHY THE TEXANS WILL LOSE: Kansas City is my sexy pick to take the great leap forward this season. I know they were 2-14 last season, but they had maybe the worst quarterback play, the worst coach, and still they managed to put five guys on the 2012 AFC Pro Bowl team. In short, the 2012 Chiefs were like Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, a schizophrenic, dandruff covered, rancid smelling mess. But with a little bit of makeup, a change of clothes, a shower and a new quarterback, the Chiefs now look like they have the chance to be decidedly average! Just like Ally Sheedy! Hell, they even went and got a boob job, bringing in Andy Reid and his ample 42 DDD cans to coach this spunky bunch! This will be a sneaky one for the Texans.
SPREAD IF THEY PLAYED TONIGHT: Texans -2 1/2
PREDICTION: Chiefs 19, Texans 17
BUCKET RATING: COIN FLIPPER
Sunday, October 27 – BYE WEEK
BYE WEEK PREDICTION: Ed Reed leaves and goes somewhere other than Houston. That's a mortal lock. I'm pretty sure he's only flying in for games this season.
Sunday, November 3 – vs Indianapolis
WHY THE TEXANS WILL WIN: The Colts were winning games last year that they had no business winning and essentially used up all of their good will from the football gods for the next three seasons. (Note: I just realized you can't use the word "luck" when discussing the Colts, because any mention of that phrase comes across as a shoehorned attempt at a pun, what with their quarterback's last name and all. Chris Berman, I'm certain, disagrees with this.)
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!