The wait is over, gang. Football is back. It’s one week until the start of the regular season and it can’t get here fast enough. There have already been more blown up knees than Justin Beiber headlines and this season is shaping up to be a nasty fight for the Championship. You know what time it is so let’s get it on…
If I owned…
… the Rams, Browns, and Buccaneers: I’d still cry myself to sleep every night. Still. Then again, I am a billionaire so I guess it all evens out…
… the Seahawks: I’d be pretty damn cocky. I mean our Quarterback is only 5’11”, barely weighs over 200 lbs. AND he was a rookie last year. We still barely missed the Superbowl. But I’m also in one of the toughest divisions, so I’ll try not to get too big headed… yet… We’ll go 10-6 and that’s being cautious.
… the Jets: I’d be sharpening my axe because heads are rolling if we go another season without making a playoff run. We’re still a joke, (Thanks, Rex!) and the sad fact is we can’t even decide on our starting QB despite the fact that we have a four year, playoff seasoned veteran on our team. But, then again, I guess that decision just got easier considering we managed to injure him by playing him IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF A PRESEASON GAME?!?! How did it come to this? Where are my pills… I think we’ll go 5-11 and that is being VERY generous.
… the Giants: I’d be tired of my supposed “elite” Quarterback holding the record for most interceptions over consecutive seasons. Seriously, Eli? You have Cruz and Nicks to throw to and you’ve won a Superbowl… what the… I don’t even… sigh. Never mind. We’ll still go 10-6. Carry on.
… the Cardinals: I’d be delighting in the fact that no one is even remotely noticing us quietly becoming a threat. Larry Fitz finally has a halfway decent QB throwing to him, and our defense is looking pretty nasty. I think we’ll quietly be 8-8, but that is me being extremely cautious. But keep ignoring us, please… keeeeeeep ignoring us…
… the Bengals: I’d be a little annoyed that we agreed to do Hard Knocks. Like I know it’s exposure, but c’mon… players all over the league have admitted to being able to learn snap counts from watching the show. But I guess my annoyance with the cameras can be overshadowed by the fact that my team is pretty solid this year. Offense has done nothing but improve with the addition of a new stellar tight end plus both AJ Green and Dalton being healthy. Defense has also added some great players. We’ll have a great season at 11-5. Now, if only we could win in the first round of the playoffs…
… the Titans: Is Chris Johnson for real this time? Yes? Maybe?! PLEASE?! Oh, who cares. Kenny Britt is still meh, and we’ve got no QB. 6-10 is all we’ll get. Run all you want Johnson, methinks it will do no one any good.
… the Bills: Soooo, we drafted EJ Manuel and were all excited to have him start. Then he got hurt. Then I cried because Kevin Kolb is our backup. Then he got hurt. Then I was all like, “Yay!” Then I realized, we have no other QBs… and we signed Matt Leinart, but he’s not starting. Wait, what? Ugh… I mean, not that I would cheer for a player’s injury, but I mean c’mon… it’s Kevin Kolb, there’s not really much to get excited about. Thank God for C. J. Spiller, but unfortunately we’re going to go the way of Tennessee. Not going to be enough. 8-8 and I’m being nice. Back to rehabbing and draft-board planning for 2014.
… the Vikings: So AP is 100% healthy, but we still have Christian Ponder as our QB. But hey, we still have Kyle Rudolph and we managed to pick up Greg Jennings and that’s a good thing right? I mean never mind the fact that he’s been almost completely non-existent in Green Bay with an ACTUAL QB throwing to him. No, it will be different here… you think if I keep saying that it will come true? That works, right? Please let us go 7-9…
… the Packers: I know it’s only preseason, and I said this last year but considering all the receivers my prized, discount double-checking QB has to throw to, why, oh why, is my offense still not clicking more? Oh, wait. That’s because my offensive line still blows. Even BEFORE we lost Bryan Bulaga I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a hundred times, I don’t care if your QB is Brady, your RB is Peterson and your WRs are Andre Johnson and Megatron. With no OLine, kiss your offensive production goodbye. We’ll still go 13-3 because our schedule is laughable. But hey, how about that Vince Young? I know, right?
… the Patriots: Again, I know it’s only preseason, but I’m a little annoyed at how shellacked we keep getting by inferior teams. I mean our asses have been squarely handed to us. Twice. I don’t wanna talk about Aaron Hernandez, so let’s just not go there (but he is sooooo going to prison). The Tebow experiment is seemingly over (Thank. God.). Yeah, we lost Wes Welker, but mark my words, Danny Amendola is going to be Tommy boy’s new BFF. Especially if Gronk is put on the PuP list. Which, by the way, is what SHOULD happen because the kid’s had too many close-in-time injuries and he needs the extra time to heal so that he can come back next year ready to be a long-term asset. But I haven’t made that call yet. I don’t think we’re going to be able to manhandle the Texans the way we have in the past… uh oh. Good thing the rest of our schedule is a pretty big joke. 13-3.
… the Broncos: I’d be ecstaaaaaaaaaatic. I mean look at what we have. Manning, Demaryius, Decker, Welker… good lord. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. I’ve gotta try not to let my excitement blind me from the fact that we did lose our starting center, which is a big deal. But GAWD, C’MON. IF WE CAN’T WIN WITH THIS SETUP, I DON’T KNOW HOW WE EVER WILL. No excuses not to be 13-3.
… the Jaguars: I’m confused as to why Chad Henne isn’t our starting QB. Very confused. In fact, I’m getting a little angry about it. What the hell? MJD isn’t going to do much this year in my opinion so we need all the help we can get. Gabbert is hurt for now, and honestly, I hope Henne gets the chance to start. He’s the better QB. Period. 6-10 without Henne which is obviously being very polite. Who’s running this show, anyway? Oh, right…
… the Colts: I’m anxious to see us in action this year. Andrew Luck’s got a year under his belt, and he’s only going to get better. Reggie’s healthy and our defense is relatively resistant to allowing yardage. I think we’ll be 9-7. Here’s hoping our offensive line holds up because Luck ain’t Russell Wilson…
… the Dolphins: I don’t know what to think. Everyone was talking up a storm about us this offseason and why? I have no clue. Joe Philbin is Joe Philbin and we still have Zac Taylor as our QB coach (lol). I throw my hands up. Whatever happens, happens. I have no positive expectations for this year. 6-10.
… the Raiders: We’re still in Peyton’s division. Well, shit. 6-10.
… the Redskins: Well, we’re starting RGIII game one and I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it. It’s stupid and irresponsible. I don’t like feeling like the player is driving the boat on this one. Look where that got us last year. “OH IT’S COOL COACH I’M GOOD TO PLAY.” *SNAP* *RIIIP* “Someone go scrape Robert off the field please…” He’s too vital, it wouldn’t hurt our season to have him out one or two games to make doubly sure he’s healthy. Because if he IS healthy, then look out NFC. We’re coming. 10-6. Our schedule is rough.
… the Chiefs: I’m skeptical because Andy Reid is now our coach. But seriously, it CANNOT get worse than Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli and a 2-14 record… right? Right?! However, we do have Alex Smith, who I think is underrated and we still have Jamaal Charles. Things could get interesting, but I’m not holding my breath. This is a rebuilding year. 7-9.
… the Chargers: I’m frustrated. We’re injured to all hell. We have new coaches and systems being put in play. So I guess I can’t really blame anyone if we suck this year, which we will. 5-11.
… the 49ers: I’m pissed off about the Superbowl. We had that game. We had it and we left it in the hands of the officials. Football 101 of things NEVER to do. Oh, we’ll be playing with some rage this season. Harbaugh will make sure of that. We’ve picked up some more offensive weapons in Anquan Boldin and company. The rest of the league should be afraid. Be very afraid… 11-5, if only because our schedule is pretty tough.
… the Steelers: I’m wondering why no one is talking about us. Is it because of our epic end-of-season collapse? We did lose to some pretty bad teams. The Browns, the Chargers, the Cowboys, the Bengals… yeah, okay. That was pretty awful. We lost 5 of the last 7 games, I suppose now I get it. But even still Ben is healthy, we’ve got some new receivers. Losing Le’Veon Bell was rough but he’ll be back mid-season. Our secondary sure does look old though… very old. I think we make the post season this year, though. I think. 11-5.
… the Lions: I don’t understand why we can’t get it together. Sure our city is crumbling beneath our feet, but so what? We have Megatron. We have Stafford. We now have Reggie Bush. I can tell you one thing is for sure, though. This may be Jim Schwartz’s last year. He was lucky I didn’t fire him after the Thanksgiving game debacle last year. KNOW THE RULES OF THE GAME YOU COACH, COACH. /facepalm We’ll probably go 5-11 and I’m being generous.
… the Bears: Is this the year Jay Cutler backs up all his shit talking? Is this the year he doesn’t blame his choking on other people? Nope. 7-9.
… the Panthers: What is going on with us? We were the talk of the town two years ago. The belle of the ball. Now look at us. Shambles. Cam is quickly becoming the overrated QB I’ve always thought he was and we have a very light offense to lean on. At least the defense still holds up its end of the bargain on this team. Then again, I must quote the rulebook – Rule No. 76: No excuses, play like a champion. 7-9 give or take a game.
… the Falcons: I’m trying to stop dwelling on the fact that we were sooooooo clooooooose last year. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzales make up the perfect offense. Let’s keep it that way. Now if only we could have a bit more defense. We just might make it to the big one this year. Just have to get past those pesky 49ers. Oh, what’s that? They got better this year? Pffft, Matty Ice isn’t scared. 10-6.
… the Eagles: What’d I tell you last year? Andy Reid is gone. Now we’ve got a new head coach, a new system of offense and Vick is (finally) healthy. We’re too new in a lot of places to know exactly what’s going to happen, but we still play in a pretty tough division with the Giants and Redskins looking down on us. Time to roll the dice. 7-9.
… the Ravens: Big deal we won the Super Bowl. We also completely gutted our team afterwards. We lost Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Chris Johnson, picked up no one of note to replace them… and that’s just from our defense. We also lost Shianco and Boldin from our offense. Dennis Pitta is out for the year. We haven’t looked great in the preseason, but I’m trying not to panic. However, it’s kind of hard not to… I guess we’ll see if our replacement players and rookie draft picks step up this year. They have to if we’re going anywhere of note this year. 10-6, but what of the post season?!
… the Cowboys: WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO PAY TONY ROMO $50 MIL. GUARANTEED? … Wait, what? My idea? Was I high? Drunk? No? Well, shit. Dez Bryant is still a whiny baby and now Romo literally has no reason to go out there and play for his job. Did you see what happened when we made DeMarco Murray play for his job? When we benched him after fumbling and put in the 2nd stringer with the starters? When we finally put him back in he ran his mofoing ass off to prove that shouldn’t have happened. Motivation is a powerful tool. Good luck getting that from Romo now. Seriously, whose idea was this?! We’re not doing anything this year… again… 7-9.
… the Saints: Is this the year we prove that we were more than a fluke, possibly rigged, feel-good, post-Katrina story? Can our defense pull it together? Can our QB score TDs? Only time will tell. There’s really no excuse for us not making the post season with our schedule. 11-5.
… the Texans: I would be cautiously optimistic. JJ Watt & Co. are still absolute beasts, Cushing is back, but honestly our secondary is a bit troubling. I mean the Saints’ 2nd string QB tore them up last Sunday. Perhaps Ed Reed will fix that, but it’s hard to know when we haven’t seen him play off that hip rehab. Arian and Andre are healthy (yes I think Arian’s injuries were greatly exaggerated). We finally have a bit of a stable of wide receivers with Hopkins leading the way to be a solid No. 2. We’re still considered contenders. I’m still a little worried about our offensive line, but we haven’t seen our full starting line play yet… I’m hoping this is the year I finally get to rub it in all the Matt Schaub and Kubiak haters faces. I’ve been a believer for the past 3-4 years, we just needed to right tools. Now, I feel we have them. Bring it. 12-4, we have one of the hardest schedules in the entire league.
… ESPN: I’d still fire Jamele Hill.
Well, that wraps up the 2013 edition of if I owned an NFL team. More to come this year so stay tuned, loyal readers.
Well… at least if you’re a real football fan. But, honestly? You don’t even need to be a die-hard grid iron lover to appreciate what’s happening with this team right now. As you can probably tell, this isn’t the typical write-up you’d normally find on Double G Sports, but I guess they’ll tell you this is what happens when you bet against the Houston Texans.
If there was an award for “most improved team,” the Texans would own that title for the second year running. Now, I don’t like to deal in hypotheticals, but if Schaub had stayed healthy the entire season last year? I can’t help but wonder how deep into the post season we would have gone. We’re now going into Week 14. We’re the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff birth, Schaub is healthy and the rest of our core is relatively unscathed or will be back in action when it matters (Knock on wood, praise Jeebus, etc.). And aside from the fact that our 2nd year, backup quarterback has as many playoff wins as Tony Romo, here are some reasons you should be paying attention to the Houston Texans:
Matt Schaub… Elite?
Alright, alright… even I couldn’t say that with a totally straight face. But you’ve gotta at least start slightly thinking about it at this point. Trust me, I used to be one of the biggest Schaub haters out there. Every week, I cursed his name. Then about three or four years ago something happened to him. He became the QB he probably always was but could never become until we fixed our OLine. He threw for almost 5,000 yards in 2009, over 4,000 in 2010. Last year, he led the team to it’s most successful season before his injury at 7-3. And this year… well, 11-1 speaks for itself.
He has already etched his name in the record books. In October, he had the third highest QB rating in the league at 105.3. He’s the master of the play action so much so that sometimes at the games, even I don’t know where the ball is. His relationship with Andre Johnson is stronger than ever and it’s evident on the field. He’s on pace to have another 4,000+ yard season with almost 30 TDs. The man had his ear ripped off and his groin kicked in and he STILL went on to lead the team to win those games.
He might be the most un-talked about, under-appreciated QB in the league. Even after the Jacksonville game (where he through for 527 yds – tying Warren Moon for the 2nd most ever by a QB, 5 TDs, with a 78.2% completion rating – the highest ever by a QB with over 50 attempts) his own fan base still made a point of calling in by the masses to local radio stations to hate on him. They clearly failed to see the bigger picture… that this was one of the best performances by a QB in NFL history. I hope we’ll see more of that from him in the future, preferably sometime in say, oh, February 2013. In the mean time, he has a chance to solidify himself in the conversation with the upcoming match-up in New England. Either way, the four letter network and teams throughout the league would do well to stop ignoring Matt Schaub.
Andre Johnson is BACK!
But did he really ever leave? Andre Johnson had a strong pedigree long before this year’s amazing numbers. He is the only receiver in NFL history with at least 60 catches in each of his first eight seasons. He’s surpassed the 10,000 yard mark (10,770). He averages 80.4 yards per game which is the highest in league history among receivers who’ve played 100 games or more, and his receptions per game (5.82) are the most for anyone with at least 500 games played. And if you ask Cortland Finnegan, he throws a mean right hook.
Johnson has been the victim of a lot of skeptics not only in Houston, but in the national media. After last year’s mid-season injury that kept him out for the rest of the year, people wondered if the 31 year old would ever be able to perform at the level that we’ve grown accustomed to witnessing each week. I think this season has put that doubt to rest and buried it in the back yard.
This is now his sixth season of 1,000+ yards (1,114), and there are still 4 games left to go. Johnson set yet another NFL record for most yards in consecutive games with 461. Against the Jaguars, he put up 273 yards on 14 catches (including the winning 48-yard touchdown), and 188 on 9 catches against the Lions. With Matt Schaub’s seemingly newfound confidence in his own abilities, the Texans are on their way to achieving something special. Andre Johnson has a chance to finally be a part of something great. And he deserves every second of it.
JJ Watt is a Freak of Nature
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in a soundproof cave with earplugs in, you know who JJ Watt is. He’s the future defensive player of the year, and makes the strongest case for a defensive MVP candidate since Lawrence Taylor.
Considering I’m his biggest fan and I was a fan long before it was the cool thing to do, I try my best not to drool over #99, but… sometimes it can’t be helped. The 6’5″ 295 lb. Watt has 60 tackles, 50 of them unassisted. He has 16.5 sacks, 31 hits on the quarterback, 27 tackles for loss, and 15 passes deflected. Watt has been instrumental in eight turnovers. He’s forced one fumble and recovered two. Five of his deflections have been intercepted by other Texans defensive players.
In the last 21 years, only one player has combined for more sacks and passes defended than Watt’s 31 1/2. If you’re an NFL offense facing Watt, you’d better be practicing your second and long plays…Watt has an obscene 71 plays for zero or negative yards, 36 happening on first down.
For a guy who’s motto is, “Dream Big, Work Hard,” it seems to be coming through in his personality and his performance. “That’s what they’re paying me to do,” Watt said in a post-game press conference. “I’ve said all along if your goal is not to be the greatest, then you’re wasting your time.” If you ask anyone in that locker room who drives that defense, it’s Watt.
I don’t have to convince you that these stats are @#$%ing ridiculous for a Defensive End in a 3-4. This guy makes watching the game fun. Really fun. He’s one of those players who only comes around once in a blue moon and he’s only 23 years old. His work ethic and attitude can mean only more amazing defensive performances to come barring injury. He has single handedly caused every Texans fan to say, “Mario… who?” He has an arrogance about him that’s actually endearing. The guy is a beast and he knows it. That makes for a dangerous combination. I’m just glad he’s on our side…
In addition to both Schaub and Johnson’s epic performances in these weeks, the team as a whole accomplished great things. Most people would look at the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Detroit Lions and expect us to win those games no problems. Most people saw our struggles with those teams as a huge negative. However, they did what no other NFL team has ever done: played (in essence) 2 1/2 games in 5 days and won both of them. Now, I would never advocate for a player getting hurt and/or knocked out of a game, but the reality is our defense knocking out Blaine Gabbert was the best thing to ever happen to the Jags because they were forced to accept the fact that Chad Henne should be their starter. Our struggles stemmed from the Texans having to deal with a QB who is half-way decent, and one that they didn’t game plan against.
Furthermore, the Detroit game was a prime time away game on only about 78 hours of rest.
The positive thing about those games was not just that they won under such physically restraining circumstances, but that the Texans proved that they can find a way to win no matter what the situation, and that’s not even counting the win over the Bears in Chicago… in Chicago weather… playing Chicago-style, defense driven football.
Look, the reality is Houston doesn’t have what Mike Wilbon likes to call, “a pedigree.” We don’t have any Super Bowl wins. We’ve only won our division once and have only won a single post season game. Everyone in this city knows this and even riding high at 11-1, we’re all cautiously optimistic. But we also know the franchise is only 10 years old. We understand that we didn’t inherit this team from another city, we’ve had to build it from the ground up. We’ve had to endure the pangs of sifting through bad coaches, players and staff for the last 8 years to find the diamonds in the rough. It’s been 17 years since we’ve won a championship in any of the big 3 (Soccer is a different story), and the last time we played for a national title in any of the big 3 sports was in 2005. Now the wait seems to be over. Regardless of how this season ends, it’s been incredibly satisfying to witness the last 10 years and finally see the product of such hard work come to fruition. This team is a young, championship contending team that barring injury will be together for quite a while considering recent contract restructuring and signings.
One of the biggest tests this team will face is tonight against New England. AFC home-field advantage at stake, in Foxborough, likely in the freezing rain, against the only team that is more favored than they are to win the Super Bowl. Some are calling it the game of the year and I’m inclined to agree. We’ll see who exits Boston victorious in just a few hours.
All in all, if you’re not watching the Texans you’re missing out. I know it’s hard to invest any time into another team other than your own city’s, but the fact is Houston is simply playing great football. And great football is something everyone can appreciate and enjoy no matter who the team is (except for maybe the Cowboys). Either way, with or without you, I look forward to enjoying every waking moment of the rest of the 2012 season.
So, I get to write an article for Double G Sports, a NY Sports Blog Outlet because the editor bet me the Texans wouldn’t go 10-1 over Thanksgiving… I’ll have it up tonight. Gonna spread the Texans love to the Northeast. Everyone’s tired of the Patriots and Giants up there anyway, right?
It’s that time again boys and girls. Football season is here. It’s week 2, and I’m already sad that we’re just that much closer to the season’s end. Fear not though, my friends. It’s time for the annual, “what if?” talk. So let’s kick this pig…
If I owned…