Fans keep asking me, “Are we good enough to win?” The simple answer is “yes.” This team has proven they can overcome obstacles that would crush a team of lesser talent and character.
Arian Foster, their top running back, battled hamstring problems to start the season causing him to miss several games. Speaking of hamstrings, their best player Andre Johnson was out for 10 games with hamstring problems and is still not fully recovered. Defensively Mario Williams went out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle in week five. Linebacker Darryl Sharpton went out for the season as well.
Oh and did I forget the most important position of any football team? Quarterback Matt Schaub broke his foot and is now out for the season as well. No need to worry, the team has a former Heisman trophy winner and 1st round pick Matt Leinart backing him up. Leinart lasted a half before getting injured. He, too, was gone for the season. What?
This team must be falling apart, right? No. They plugged in third round pick TJ Yates as QB and finish the season with a franchise best 10-6 record and the AFC South Division title. I did not forget about safety Daniel Manning and guard Mike Brisiel missing three games with broken legs (that is just a flesh wound).
This team took “the next man up” mantra to a new level when defensive coordinator Wade Phillips missed two of the last three games because he had to have surgery to remove his gall bladder and some other issue. He is not really forthcoming on what else was wrong and I will not speculate.
To top it off, Phillips was recently a candidate for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach position. That is until Thursday night when he declined to interview for the job and said he loves it here in Houston and decided to stay. Yeah! That is more important than most people will ever know.
That is the quick wrap up and by all means not the full story of this Texans team. The story is still being written. The team is going into Baltimore to yet again do what everyone says they can’t do. Everyone except Houston media, that is. We are all drinking the Texans Kool-Aid which they serve every day at Reliant stadium.
I think they can win but they will truly have to play their best game. The defense must play “large” and create at least one key turnover in the game. The Texans cannot turn the ball over, especially not on a short field. They must open the field up by throwing down the field to Andre Johnson. If he can’t catch the ball, no one will.
Opening the field will create more room for Arian Foster to find some lanes. Safeties Ed Reed and former Texan Bernard Pollard will have to back up at least a little. They need to match Owen Daniels up with Pollard and it will be TD all the way. Lastly, Yates needs to throw the ball some when backup running back Ben Tate goes in the game. That way they will not be so predictable. If they make these few adjustments, the Texans can win and I believe we will.
Defensively it is simple: Control Ray Rice. The guy is a beast. Just don’t let him go off rushing and we must watch him on the screens. He can be incredibly dangerous. Finally stay in Ravens QB Joe Flacco’s Grill. You know, his face! You get the picture, right?
What happens if they win? They will go the AFC Championship game most likely against the New England Patriots in New England. They will host the Broncos if Denver beats the Patriots.
Stranger things have happen. After all, Tim Tebow and his Broncos beat the Steelers.
I will be on News 92FM live from Baltimore covering the Texans on Saturday from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m.-noon. I will have a full wrap-up Monday morning as well. A special thanks to Cullen’s American Grille and Exclusive Furniture for making News 92 FM’s playoff coverage in Baltimore possible.