Heading into this past Monday night, there was about as wide a chasm as there could possibly be riding on the outcome of the Texans' game with the New England Patriots. With the Colts having knocked off the Titans 27-23 the day before, the possible consequences of Monday's outcome were as follows:
- A Texans win would have made them 12-1, and given them the head-to-head wins over the other three likely AFC division winners. Most importantly, it would have put them one win away from clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
- A Texans loss would drop them to 11-2, and push them closer to the 9-4 Colts in the standings to the point where the Colts actually still control their own destiny for winning the AFC South.
Well, we all know what happened.
But after three straight weeks on the road, the Texans are back home this Sunday against those aforementioned Colts, and you know what that means -- an all-new BATTLE-DRINK Bingo card with some new Texans wrinkles and some Colts-specific stipulations.
Let's take a look at the specifics:
B4: Jim Irsay tweets There's not an owner in football who has adopted and used social media more to forward his brand or build his personality more than the Colts' Irsay. He uses his Twitter account (@JimIrsay) to give props to his players, send out injury reports, and even randomly shoot out some Led Zeppelin lyrics:
...And as we wander down that road..,our shadows taller than our soul,,,there walks a lady,we all know....,
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) December 8, 2012
N1: Ben Tate carry Since Ben Tate hurt his hamstring in the October 21, Gary Kubiak had been doing very little to hide his displeasure over Tate's inability to stay on the field, going as far as to answer specific questions about this injury with additional commentary about Ben Tate's uneven body of work when it comes to durability. Since getting healthy again, Tate remained buried in third on the depth chart behind Arian Foster and Justin Forsett. Well, it's time for Kubiak to get over his butt-hurt over Tate's sketchy injury history. Tate has fresh legs, he has talent, and the Texans need a healthy Ben Tate come playoff time.
G1: Chuck Pagano cancer mention Unless you have to deal with them for the next decade or so like the Texans do, the Colts are a great story this season for a variety of reasons. Probably the biggest reason is the team's incredible unity in the face of their head coach's medical adversity. Chuck Pagano has been dealing with treatable leukemia all season long, and the Colts have still managed to go 9-4 making Bruce Arians a distinct Coach of the Year possibility.
G3: Keshawn Martin return for TD Prior to the Patriots game, Martin had been improving in the return game. The Pats game was a small step backwards, so let's put some drinking skin in the game for us on this one.
G4: A college football coach is hired What looked to be a relatively ho-hum coaching "silly season" has evolved into one of the most intriguing in recent memory, with the defining traits being the sheer quantity, speed, and significance of the aftershocks. With what feels like more existing head coaches (as opposed to coordinators) moving on to new head coaching jobs, the ripple effects have been palpable.
O1: John McClain tweets "pathetic" In a 42-14 loss, this stipulation probably killed more than a few players. Hopefully, the Texans play a crisp brand of football, for your liver's sake.
O3: "Andrew Luck is from Houston" mention O4: "Andrew Luck's dad is a former Oiler" mention The homecoming angle and a father who is a former Oiler. This could get ugly.
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O5: Texans defensive penalty on 3rd down Twice against the Patriots the Texans defense had silly penalties on third down to allow Tom Brady to stay on the field and eventually lead his team to touchdowns. If they do this against the Colts, we're ALL going to be losers. FIVE shots.
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.