Tonight the Texans begin a stretch where over the next ten weeks they will play five games on national television with the stage all to themselves -- tonight against the Jets, next Sunday hosting the Packers, November 11 in Chicago, Thanksgiving Day against the Lions and December 11 in New England.
Sunday afternoon games are certainly fun, but primetime games are where legends are made, particularly Monday night games. And no, I'm not talking about the players, I'm talking about the drinkers.
Think about it -- anybody can "day drink" a Sunday away, sleep it off and work functionally at their job the next day. But it takes an alcoholic super trooper to obliterate his (or her) liver on a Monday night and answer the bell on a Tuesday.
To that end, to the diehard imbibers, I give you a special Monday Night Football game card for Battle-Drink, the Texans BINGO drinking game!
Before we all use the Battle-Drink game card to ruin our brain-cell count, let's use it as the platform to preview the game tonight. How do we think this baby goes down?
B1: Shots of Tim Tebow on the sideline. The networks love them some Tebow, particularly ESPN. In fact, ESPN loves Tim Tebow so much, Doug Gottlieb (former ESPN radio host, now CBS radio host) said that when he was with ESPN, he was specifically instructed to talk about Tebow as much as possible. And unfortunately for your liver, ESPN is carrying this game. Expected intake: 11 sips
B2: Houston Texans first downs. The Texans have 86 first downs on the season (14th in the league). The Jets have allowed 90 (23rd in the league). This is simple math. Expected intake: 40 sips (20 first downs).
B3: Shot of Eva Longoria in the stands. Perhaps you've heard, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is dating actress Eva Longoria, proving the age-old adage that much like musicians not even needing to be attractive in order to get some tail, quarterbacks needn't be talented. I don't even know if Longoria will be at the game, but let's assume she will be. Expected intake: 3 sips (1 Longoria sighting).
B4: Gruden says "awesome." Jon Gruden thinks football is awesome. And I mean everything about football. Hell, Gruden even thinks that Cam Newton's complete inability to recall one audible during his year at Auburn is awesome:
I'm not sure awesome Monday's game will be, but rest assured, Gruden will find something, several things, awesome about it. Expected intake: 30 sips (10 "awesomes").
B5: Connor Barwin sacks. As well as the Texans defense has played this season, one thing that Gary Kubiak has had to address at the last two Monday press conferences has been the mysterious absence of big plays (or any plays, really) from linebacker Connor Barwin. Kubiak insists Barwin is playing well, and the sacks will come. Monday, Kubiak will be right. Expected intake: 5 sips (1 sack). I1: Andre Johnson catch The Texans are fortunate that they have the one marquee wide receiver (maybe Larry Fitzgerald fits this bill, too) who is probably all right with averaging four catches a game as long as the team is winning. Terrell Owens would have called Matt Schaub "gay" at least five or six times by now. Tonight will be what's become a typical Andre game. Expected intake: 4 gulps.
I2: Tirico says the word "undefeated" This one would have been much worse had Atlanta lost to the Redskins on Sunday as that would have made the Texans the only undefeated team, and thus their undefeatedness would have become a big part of what defines them. But alas, the Falcons won, so the "U word" drifts into the background. Expected intake: 6 gulps (3 times Tirico says it)
I3: Antonio Smith ninja move Unlike Arian Foster's "namaste" bow, which is reserved for touchdowns, Antonio Smith is much more liberal with his "ninja sword twirl and stow it away" move. Sacks, passes batted down, half sacks, tackles for loss, they all get some "ninja love." Expected intake: 12 gulps (4 "ninja moves")
I4: Brooks Reed held by his ponytail I jokingly put this one in the pregame edition of Battle-Drink, and lo and behold, it actually happened in the Tennessee game! Battle-Drinkers love you, David Stewart! Expected intake: Zero gulps.
I5: John McClain tweets "pathetic" If the Texans have a bad series or two, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is not afraid to put them on blast, and he won't mince words!
Pathetic defense by Texans. They let Hasselbeck take Titans 78 yards in 7 plays. The TD came on a pass from Hasselbeck to TE Craig Stevens.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 30, 2012
What a pathetic series by Texans. False start on Newton. Foster for minus-1. Foster minus-6 reception. Foster stuffed.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 16, 2012
What a pathetic series by Texans. First down at 7. 5-yd penalty on Owen Daniels. Schaub incomplete. Randy Starks sack. Foster short gain.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 9, 2012
4-0? John McClain wipes his ass with your 4-0! Pathetic! Expected intake: 5 gulps (1 "pathetic")
N1: Wade Phillips fist pump We love Wade Phillips, and not just because he's the biggest reason for the franchise's transformation from laughing stock to Super Bowl favorite, but because he's an amalgam of every jolly, merry, folksy uncle that we all loved hanging out with at family picnics. When good things happen, Uncle Wade pumps his fist like he just knocked over a pyramid of milk jugs to win you the big stuffed animal at the county fair. Gonna be a fist pumpin' good time in the Big Apple tonight! Expected intake: 4 chugs.
N2: Arian Foster "namaste bow" The Jets are giving up nearly 180 yards on the ground. Also, Ben Tate is nursing an injured toe. Someday, Gary Kubiak will dial Arian Foster off of his record-setting workload pace, but today is not that day. Expected intake: 4 chugs (2 bows).
N3: FREE SPACE Make up your own here! In my house, we will be using "Our dog barks at bass pumping from next-door neighbor." We have a neighbor that's addicted to randomly cranking his bass at the oddest times. It's quite annoying, but if I can attach a drinking stipulation to it, it becomes less annoying. N4: Brian Cushing bleeds Specifically, this refers to Cushing bleeding from his forehead, like Dusty Rhodes in a Texas death match. It happened at least twice last season, and in front of his hometown peeps (Bergen Catholic, represent yo!) the odds of Cushing coming out amped like one of the Bushwhackers on Red Bull are strong. Expected intake: Zero chugs (but I had to really think about it).
N5: Jon Weeks makes a tackle Weeks has only two tackles in his entire long snappilicious Texans career, and that's just fine with me. The joy in watching Weeks is in watching him waddle down on punt coverage and hurl himself into piles like a hyperactive nine year old jettisoning himself into the plastic ball pit in the McDonald's Playland. Tackling can only injure the big lug, and we don't want that! Expected intake: Zero chugs.
G1: J.J. Watt "swatts" a pass After swatting down five passes in his first two games, Watt has gone two games without his signature maneuver. Fortunately, he's made up for it with an ungodly number of sacks and tackles for loss. Sanchez is just clueless enough to get Watt back on the pass knockdown train tonight. And God forbid Tebow comes into the game; we might all die from alcohol poisoning. Expected intake: Two shotguns.
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G2: Matt Schaub rushing TD Please, God, no. Keep the man healthy. Expected intake: Zero shotguns.
G3: Trindon Holliday fumble Frankly, if the Jets are going to keep it close, they're going to need some sort of game-changing, cataclysmic error to make that happen. If you say that it hasn't felt like we're walking a very thin line by having Trindon Holliday back there fielding kicks, then you're simply not watching. Of all the players about whom I'm worried reacting adversely to the bright lights, Trindon is at the top of the list. Expected intake: Zero shotguns (but I had to REALLY think about it)
G4: Rex Ryan foot fetish mentioned To be clear, this refers to the fetish getting mentioned on the telecast. If I meant how often it got mentioned by people I watch the game with, you wouldn't survive. No chance.
Can I smell them? Rex Ryan asked that. Expected intake: Zero shotguns.
G5: "Antonio Cromartie, you're NOT the father!" Cromartie would have to be served with paternity test results on the sideline for this one to come into play, which means it's 50/50 at best. I'd hate to see the guy get another kid put on his ticket. I mean, he can barely remember the names of the ones he already has!
Expected intake: Zero shotguns. O1: Kubiak loses a replay challenge This would have been one of the biggest locks on the board as recently as last season, with Kubiak sporting a career record on replay challenges equivalent to that of a Saturday morning wrestling jabroni. But times they've changed, to the point where in the last game, Kubiak won a replay challenge and Kareem Jackson had a pick six. Expected intake: Zero shots.
O2: Obama is mentioned It's election season, so not only will Obama get mentioned, but we might get a halftime interview. Hell, we might get an in-game appearance in the booth. This category could be what takes your night from "pleasantly inebriated" to "liver transplant necessary." Expected intake: 4 shots (2 Obama mentions)
O3: Joe Namath hits on Lisa Salters Joe Namath has supposedly given up drinking since this incident during a nationally televised Jets game several years ago:
Expected intake: Zero shots.
O4: Tebow loses his virginity to Lisa Salters Tebow's made it this long, when it finally does happen, I would think he'd try to outkick the "Lisa Salters" portion of the female grid, no disrespect intended. (Poor Lisa Salters, getting mixed into all of this immature speculation and chicanery.) Expected intake: Zero shots.
O5: Joe Namath hits on Tim Tebow Namath? No. Gruden? Possibly. And THAT would truly be awesome. Expected intake: Zero shots
PREDICTION, Alcohol Intake: 89 sips, 27 gulps, 8 chugs, 2 shotguns, and 4 shots.
PREDICTION, Final Score: Texans 31, Jets 6
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.