Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Red’s 2017 NFL Predictions – the Annual Bitch Portion Thereof

Well it’s time for Red’s Annual Bitch about the favorable TV treatment afforded the Hated Arlington Cowboys franchise.  Hang on to your Stetsons.

 If for some unfathomable reason you are a Cowboys fan, most Sundays you can sleep late, linger over brunch, get in 18 holes, have an under-the-covers nap (aka siesta tradicional) and still be back in the recliner with nachos in hand in time for kickoff. It’s even better this season than usual for all you HAC fans.  All Red can say is – at least your team made the playoffs last season  and there is some slight justification for having a reasonable share of games on National TV – but nothing justifies this:

Week 1       Giants Sunday Night Game

Week 2       At Broncos Sunday Late Game

Week 3       At Cardinals Monday Night Game

Week 5       Packers Sunday Late Game

Week 7       At 49ers Sunday Late Game

Week 8       At Redskins Sunday Late Game

Week 9       Chiefs Sunday Late Game

Week 10     At Falcons Sunday Late Game

Week 11     Eagles Sunday Night Game

Week 12     Chargers Thanksgiving Late Game

Week 13     Redskins Thursday Night Game

Week 14     At Giants Sunday Late Game

Week 15     At Raiders Sunday Night Game

Week 16     Seahawks Sunday Late Game

So adding it all up, the Cowboys get:

3 Sunday Night games

8 Sunday Late Games with only 49ers and Broncos as time zone related

1 Monday Night Game

1 Thursday Night Game (mandatory)

And the traditional Thanksgiving game

For a grand total of 14 national TV appearances. That is well above the standard 11 national TV appearances that the league regularly doles out to America’s Team.

And if you are a fan of the hapless Texans (who have actually won more playoff games in the time of their miserable existence than the Cowboys have during that period) you had better plan ahead and expect that the games will totally mess up your Sunday afternoon plans.

Week 2       At Bengals Thursday Night Game

Week 5       Chiefs Sunday Night Game

Week 8       At Seahawks Sunday Late Game

Week 10     At Rams Sunday Late Game

Week 12     At Ravens Sunday Night Game

Week 16     Stealers Sunday Late Game

That’s 6 national TV appearances which is better than the usual schedule but only because of 2 west coast games against the Seahawks and Rams and the mandatory Thursday night game.

Red calls Bullshit.

 

No Mo’ Romo (cont.)

ESPN is reporting that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will retire and take up a career in broadcasting.  This means that all of Houston can let out a collective sigh of relief (or cry of agony as the case may be).  Red for one is glad that the Texans will not fall for the trap of signing a tired, old Tony Romo to be their starting QB for what would likely be 3 games before he goes down for the season.   The idea that TR was the answer to the Texans’ quarterback problem always struck Red as ludicrous.  Romo had a track record of near abject failure in the playoffs and to think that would change in Houston was a pipedream.

Dallas is expected to designate Romo as a post-June 1 release, softening the blow against the Cowboys’ cap this season. Instead of counting $24.7 million in 2017, Romo would count $10.7 million this year and $8.9 million in 2018. The Cowboys would gain $14 million in cap space, but it would not become available until June 2. But after Tuesday, Romo will no longer be with the Cowboys.

Romo’s decision came down to his health, sources close to the situation told ESPN. Romo, who turns 37 on April 21, believes his family and his health are paramount at this time in his life. He was limited to playing in just parts of five games over the past two seasons because of collarbone and back injuries, and he suffered a compression fracture in his back last August that led to him ultimately giving way to Dak Prescott.

The upside for Red is that Romo is rumored to replace addled and incoherent Phil Simms in the booth next to overrated and annoying Jim Nantz.   Nothing would make Red happier than TR having to put up with prima donna Nantz and his smarminess on 18 weekends next season.

We Still Have Brock Osweiler to Kick Around

Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler continues to be the poster boy (perhaps whipping boy would be a better description) for bad decisions at that position by NFL teams.  Sporting News disses the prospects for Tampa Bay backup quarterback and free agent Mike Glennon by claiming that he would be a worse deal for any team than even the much-maligned Osweiler.  Red for his part thinks the book is still out on the Tall Texan.  BO performed decently when the pressure was on in the last game of the season and in the playoffs.  Playing behind a makeshift line and without several of his best receivers, Osweiler’s numbers in those games were not terrible – merely low mediocre.  Even the playoff game against the Patriots was still within reach in the 4th quarter despite terrible special teams and lackluster (other than forcing 3 TO’s) defensive play.  Yes, BO threw up some INT’s during desperation time, but the Texans were not out of it until the defense gave up 10 points in the 4th quarter.  Still, SN piles on in its argument that Glennon is a toxic commodity – or at least an overpriced one.

Move over, Brock Osweiler. Mike Glennon is about to get a lot more fool’s gold in NFL free agency than you did.  File Glennon as the latest unlikely young veteran poster boy of the league’s most quarterback-needy teams. At 6-6, 225, he isn’t as big or tall as Osweiler, but he might be a bigger bust for whoever signs him, even at a little less the price.

A general recent rule is whatever the Texans do at quarterback, don’t follow. Houston got tired of going the Fitzpatrick-Hoyer route in consecutive seasons, so it panicked and tried to solve QB long-term with Osweiler. That was an extremely expensive backfire.

Congratulations Mr. Mercilus

The appropriately named Whitney Mercilus was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.  Mercilus, the Texans OLB, was indeed merciless against the Bears on Sunday. Mercilus recorded four tackles,  two sacks, two quarterback hits, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble in Houston’s 23-14 season-opening victory.

Mercilus is an interesting guy to boot.  The University of Illinois graduate of Haitian descent has taken an interest in his adopted city and loves classical music.  Lots of NFL players have so-called foundations which are frequently just a way to pay for a party, but the Mercilus Foundation seems to be the real deal.  According to Mercilus, the focus of the MF “is helping underprivileged families raising kids with disabilities.  It’s what I studied in college – Community Health Disability and Rehabilitation Concentration – essentially helping disabled people with home accommodations, home living, work space, transportation and more.” Expect big things from Mercilus on and off the field.

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 2

Last week Red was 2-4  and most embarrassingly missing out on the Sure Bet of the Week in picking the Panthers to cover the spread and going with the over. That Timmy – is why you should not try this at home.  Leave it to the professionals who can afford to lose their lunch money – like old Uncle Red.  Face it, Red had a bad week but still was oh so ever close to “drinking coffee and smoking fine cigars” ala Johnny Cash.  The Panthers, Jaguars, Lions and Cardinals lost games by a collective 11 points and sank Papa Red’s first week.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Seahawks over Rams. After last week, Red is only going out on a really strong limb that is supported by a steel column driven firmly into the bedrock.  The Hawk are only giving up 6.5 on some books – which seems like a steal.  But Red is getting “NL” from a few sources – meaning blow out coming.  Red is indifferent about a 38.5 over under.  Take the Seahawks and give up to 9.5 points – but no more.  Seattle 28 Los Angeles 9.

Underdog Pick of the Week – Buccaneers over Cardinals. Four touchdown drives of over 75 yards have Red believing. Four touchdown passes to four different targets has Red believing. The Doug Martin-Charles Sims tandem has Red believing.  Then Red remembers it was a win over the Falcons.  Fortunately, Red is pretty good at that whole “willing suspension of disbelief” thing.   History says that this will be a close game.  History lies.  Tampa Bay 31 Arizona 17.

Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Bengals over Stealers [sic].  When they last met the “Stealers” lived up (or down as the case may be) to their name when they stole a playoff win from the Bengals.  In reality, the Bengals’ loss was self-inflicted with incredibly stupid penalties by Vontaze Burfict and Adam (formerly PacMan) Jones allowing the Stealers a chance at a last second field goal to win.  SI had the headline right – “Bengals lose all control as all hell breaks loose in loss to Stealers.”  Red salutes SI as it is hard to use lose, loose and loss in one headline and actually get it right.  Bengals are back at full strength with Red Rifle at the helm. Stupidity is kept in check on Sunday in Steeltown.  Cincinnati 28 Pittsburgh 17.

Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Texans over Chiefs.  Speaking of recent playoff humiliation – Red can’t really recall one worse than the 30-0 ass-whomping the Chiefs put on the Texans in January.  It looked like a Division 6A team playing a six-man squad.  There is no real reason to think that the Texans can compete with the Chiefs – even though Red has the Chiefs as the most overrated team in the league.  But a man can dream can’t he?  Houston 25 Chiefs 23.

Prime Time Pick of the Week – Vikings over Packers. This could be Red’s NFL Game of the Week.  Packers came out sharp in the first half of the Week 1 win over the Jaguars. The furious second half field goal fest (2 for each team for a total of 12 second-half points) showed that the Pack has some work left to do.  Meanwhile, the Vikings walked over the doormat Titans. No such scheduling luck this week.  Shaun Hill showed enough to hold on to the starter’s job for at least another week.  He surprises everyone this week by taking Player of the Week honors in a big win over the Pack.  Minnesota 27 Green Bay 24 .

Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – OTNA’s over Cowboys. The OTNA’s put a merciful bullet in the head of the Cowboy’s season when these two old rivals last met in January. Of course, the OTNA’s had something to play for.  They were 5-7 with four games to play after a humiliating loss to the Cowboys in Week 13.  But they rallied to win four in a row and the NFC East while averaging an incredible 33 points a game.  Much has changed since then, but the Cowboys still look like the dogs of the East.  Landover MD 35 Arlington 20.

Texans Make Bold Play in Free Agency

The Houston Texans went long in the free agent market yesterday – signing Denver Broncos “backup” quarterback Brock Osweiler and Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller.   The moves are intended to fill two gaping holes in the Texans offense with current QB Brian Hoyer being widely viewed as a capable second stringer at best and the backfield being open following the release of running back Arian Foster.

Red rates the Miller move as a solid decision to pick up a proven running back who has averaged 4.6 yards per carry on weak to mediocre Dolphins teams.   Miller also comes in at age 25 (for next season) without too much wear and tear.  He has 638 carries in his 4 year career.  The last two seasons, Miller also showed himself as a capable receiver averaging over 40 catches.  He should be good enough to keep the job for 3-4 seasons if used wisely.  Miller has said he wants 20 touches a game.  If the Texans are smart, it will be about 15 and Alfred Blue will continue to get work in relief.  The $26 million – 4 year deal for LM is not a budget buster.   On the proverbial scale, Red weighs this one in at 7.5.

The Osweiler deal is another story.  The Texans busted open the bank with a 4 year – $72 million contract for the unproven BO.  The sports talk empire in Houston was naturally abuzz over the move with the local sports wags mostly buying the company line.  Red has to break with Charlie Palilo, Red’s preferred drive-time radio man, on this one.  The Texans have placed at least 10 of the dozen eggs in the Osweiler basket and Red thinks the bottom may not be as strong as beleaguered Texans GM Rick Smith calculates.   For those interested, here is what $72 million buys these days.  If BO turns out to be a less injury-prone Matt Schaub 2.0, then the deal is probably just on the high side of okay.  But for fans expecting Osweiler to take the Texans to the next level (which would be making it to the AFC Championship game), Red thinks probably not.  Which means for ol’ Billy Bob Texansfan, this move is likely to disappoint.  Safe to say, however, that Rick Smith and Coach Bill O’Brian have staked their careers in Houston on this move.

 

Red’s NFL Picks – Wildcard Weekend

It’s Wacky Wildcard Weekend time and Red is excited – even though he will miss the Texans game to watch a high school soccer tournament.

Red Rates Himself – For week 17 Red was 1-5. Only the OTNA’s came through for Red. Red remembers something about diminishing marginal return from his Econ 101 class. For the Season 53-43. Not even a particularly good record in the AL West.

Your Best Wildcard Pick of the Week: Seahawks over Vikings. Red wasn’t the only prognosticator stunned by the Seahawks dismemberment of the Cardinals on Sunday. One expected to see body parts randomly strewn over the turf of the University of Phoenix Stadium (the stadium oddly named after a university with no football team) after the game. But the Cards have a bye week to recover and regroup. Red doesn’t think the Seahawks will make it to the Superb Owl but he does think that they can handle the Vikings on the road. The rubric Red typically follows for his post-season picks is “Quality Wins” – meaning wins over teams that themselves had winning records. In some cases Red will chalk up a QW for a win over an 8-8 team that had a difficult schedule or lost several close games.   The Seahawks have 3 QWs – all coming after Thanksgiving which adds extra weight. They beat the Stealers, Vikings and Cardinals – the last two in very convincing butt-whipping fashion. The Vikings have 2 QWs over the Packers and the Chiefs both by 7 points or less. That and the head to head 38-7 thumping they suffered at the hands of the Seahawks in Week 13, make the Seahawks Red’s overwhelming favorite to win this week. Seattle 20 Minnesota 13.

Your Really Darn Good Wildcard Pick of the Week: Packers over OTNAs. The Packers, to put it mildly, did not rebound well from the shellacking at the hands of the Cardinals (who were in turn – oh damn it, just read the previous prediction) as they lost the division to a decent Vikings team in Week 17. Red boldly pronounced last week that the Packers needed to win to go anywhere in the playoffs. But now, he realizes that the Pack really needs to have its back up against the wall with the guns of the firing squad aimed at their huddle in order to really focus and deal with a team that they should beat – like the OTNAs. The Packers come in with 3 QWs over the Seahawks, Chiefs (back when everyone was beating the Chiefs apparently) and Vikings – but two of those wins were in Weeks 2 and 3. Since Thanksgiving, the Pack has only managed middling wins against the weak sisters and hasn’t come close to beating a decent team since pummeling the Vikings in Week 11. The OTNAs have a big ZERO QWs and their best win was a 35-25 victory over the 8-8 Bills. They also have an inexcusable loss to the division doormat Cowboys. Red hopes that the moribund Packer offense can remember where the end zone is located on Sunday.  Green Bay 35 Landover, Md. 29.

Your So-So Wildcard Pick of the Week: Bengals over Stealers. A really tough rubber match that is hard to call with uncertainty in the line ups. Is Dalton the back-up for this one and will he play if McCarron falters? The Stealers will score points and the Bengals have to keep up. Red would avoid this one if he could, but that is not how Red rolls. Stealers have 3 QWs over the Cardinals, Bengals and Broncos. Bengals racked up 3 QWs against Stealers, Seahawks and Chiefs (ahem!). Throw out the offsetting QWs and Red gives an oh-so-slight edge to the Stealers – but is picking the Bengals anyway.    Cincinnati 28 Pittsburgh 27.

You’re Probably Lame-Ass Wildcard Pick of the Week: Chiefs over Texans. Red may have been right when picking the Texans to win this season –but it clearly escapes his memory right now. Of late, picking the Texans to lose has hurt Red’s average, but Red is willing to take one for the team. The last playoff meeting between a Houston team and the Chiefs was on January 16, 1994. The similarities (and differences) abound. The Oilers had started the season 1-4, only to rebound with 11 straight wins (including a Christmas Day win over the dynastic 49ers) and secure a division championship. This year both the Chiefs (1-5) and Texans (2-5) had rocky starts before going on runs to the playoffs. The Oilers had a feared defense under the always overrated Buddy Ryan. The Texans defense under Romeo Crenel may not be feared, but it may be better than the 94 Oilers. The Chiefs had Marcus Allen, but neither team had a first class running game. With Joe Montana and Warren Moon at the respective helms, both teams relied heavily on a passing attack to move the ball. The game on Saturday will feature two exemplars of the “caretaker quarterback” that actually proves successful a remarkable amount of the time. With Alex Smith and Brian Hoyer taking snaps, neither team figures to light it up through the air. The 94 game was a defensive struggle with the Oilers leading 10-7 going into the 4th quarter. Then both teams started scoring. The Chiefs won 28-20 when Montana led the team to three 4th quarter touchdowns – something that was supposed to be impossible against a Buddy Ryan defense. But in retrospect, the 9 sacks of Moon and 7 fumbles (2 lost) probably made the difference in this one. Red looks for a similar result on Saturday. The teams will thrust and parry to little effect until late in this one and then it will be a wild affair to the finish. On the QW front, the Texans have 2 with wins over the Bengals and Jets, as do the Chiefs with wins over the Stealers and Broncos. But neither team has played anyone in over a month. The Chiefs have an excellent wide-out and tight end in Maclin and Kelce. The Texans have the better receiver in Hopkins and nothing at tight end. Neither team has much of a running game. The Texans have the edge on defense, but the Chiefs are no slouch in that category. The Texans have proven they can score points against the weak sisters of the league. Can they move the ball on a good defense? Probably enough to keep it respectable, but not enough to win. One big play will probably decide this one. Kansas City 20 Houston 17.