The bye week is here for the Texans, so there is no game to preview in this space. Instead, let's go through the short checklist of bye week action items for Bill O'Brien and the Texans:
- Get Demrayius Thomas fully fluent in the playbook
- Get proper injury treatment for Aaron Colvin, Keke Coutee, Johnathan Jospeh, Zach Cunningham, Senio Kelemete, and D'Onta Foreman, so that these guys can all come back after the bye
- Get ready for the Redskins, run winning streak to seven games
It's that simple. The nice thing about a bye week is that it does give Texan fans (and media members, especially pregame and post game hosts) a chance to consume the active teams that weekend. So here are four things I will be watching from my couch this Sunday afternoon (into evening):
4. Cowboys are ready to take the finishing move
After an abysmal Monday Night Football game against the Titans, a game in which a catastrophic Dak Prescott interception in the Titans end zone completely changed the complexion of the game, the 3-5 Cowboys will now try to save their season on a second straight prime time game against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. While the Eagles have underwhelmed this season at 4-4, there appears to, at the very least, still be a believe and a resolve with this team, especially playing in an imminently winnable NFC East. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have spent the week answering questions about their head coach's tenure, which SHOULD end soon
but will probably entail a four year contract extension. The atmosphere for this game — Philly, at night, versus the Cowboys, it checks all the boxes — should translate very, very well through our television screens on Sunday. The night should end with the Cowboys, figuratively, looking up at the lights and the Eagles pinning them for the 1-2-3.
3. Dog day afternoon
There are three games in the afternoon window on Sunday, and for the first time that I can remember, all three games have underdogs catching double digit points. In other words, the betting community expects three blowouts. The games are Chargers (-11) at Raiders, Dolphins at Packers (-10.5), and Seahawks at Rams (-10.5). Like every Brock Osweiler interception, each of these spreads has a story. The Raiders as a double digit underdog AT HOME is the ultimate indicator that the Raiders have quit on the 2018 season, and thus, quit on the city of Oakland. Viva Las Vegas! The 4-4 Dolphins catching double digits to a sub-.500 Packers team is all about the quarterbacks. Compared to Aaron Rodgers, Brock Osweiler is basically a two touchdown boat anchor around his team's throat. Finally, the Seahawks are the biggest underdog they've been in the Russell Wilson Era. They played the Rams to a near standstill at home a few weeks ago (33-31 Rams win), so let's see what happens in Los Angeles. The interesting thing about those three games collectively is that none of the three underdog head coaches is in any danger of being fired — Jon Gruden and his 10-year deal in Oakland, Adam Gase actually getting some Coach of the Year love on the odds board (winning with Brock as your QB is good for the image!), and Pete Carroll will leave Seattle when he chooses. Unlike....
2. Next coach fired
.... these guys. Per Bovada, here is the odds board on the next NFL head coach to be relieved of duties this season, along with my commentary:
Dirk Koetter 9/4
The Bucs are 3-5 with the worst defense in football. They host Washington this weekend as a three point favorite, and the Redskins are missing three offensive linemen, so maybe the Bucs will suck less defensively and hold off the Bucs' guillotine on Koetter for another week.
Vance Joseph 9/2
Vance Joseph made at least two or three fireable decisions in that loss to the Texans last Sunday (thank God!). The Broncos are on a bye this week, so he probably survives at least a little longer.
John Harbaugh 5/1
Ravens are on a bye this week, as well. It's crazy to see Harbaugh's name mentioned here, until you realize the Ravens have made the playoffs once in the last four years.
Steve Wilks 6/1
Firing Wilks would seem crazy, what with him being in his first year, until I realize that I wonder why the hell they ever hired him in the first place, knowing they'd be drafting a future franchise quarterback. .
Todd Bowles 13/2
Bowles getting the axe soon feels like a pretty solid value, although Sam Darnold's injury this week might actually give the Jets a better chance to win here in the short term.
Jason Garrett 19/2
I would never risk one single dime betting on Jerry Jones terminating Jason Garrett. It's like burning money.
Mike McCarthy 10/1
It's about time McCarthy start showing up on lists like these. Of course, like usual, Aaron Rodgers will probably reel off six straight wins and bring the temperature of McCarthy's seat back in line with actual November temps in Green Bay.
Adam Gase 11/1
Gase is also 14/1 to win Coach of the Year, if you need any indication as to what the Dolphins' 4-4 record means. (HINT: NOBODY knows what the hell to make of it!)
Pat Shurmur 11/1
There's a better chance that Eli Manning is fired, and they begin a rebuild around a rookie QB next season. They will be picking high enough.
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Doug Marrone 15/1
Marrone was a genius ten months ago. Now, he's a dope, apparently.
Sean McDermott 16/1
Come on, could ANYBODY win in Buffalo with THAT roster?
1. AFC South chasers
Finally, block out the early part of your day, if you want to watch the AFC South continue to shape itself in the standings beneath the Houston Texans. The Titans get the Patriots at home on a short week (that game is one of my Best Bets this weekend), and the Colts are somehow less than a field goal favorite over the reeling Jaguars (another Best Bet). Once this weekend is over, everyone in the division will have played the same amount of games, and the Texans' lead SHOULD be two games over the Titans and the winner of Colts-Jags. Good times!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.