Rather odd week here in UselessPredictionsLand. On the one hand, many things seem virtual locks. On the other hand, I can't remember being this unsure of how a game would turn out in quite some time. So many potentially dispositive forces at play--the Texans' secondary being what it is, the Chargers' struggles on the road this season, total uncertainty as to what Houston's offensive game plan will be, Antonio Gates/Malcom Floyd/Vincent Jackson/Legedu Naanee all being out or very likely to be out...any one of these could be enough to swing the game. I'll probably change my mind at least another 1,983 times before kickoff. Nevertheless, it's time to memorialize my current gut feeling. Steel yourself and hit the jump with me.
1. Philip Rivers does his best Peyton Manning impression and throws for three (3) TDs to whatever guys from the Reliant Stadium parking lot the Chargers choose to trot out at WR. Rivers is a very good QB in his own right, and he's helped by the Texans' secondary continuing their commitment to making every opposing QB's game against the Texans a career day. As maddening as watching the Houston secondary will be, it could be worse. If Rivers had his regular receiving corps at full health, he'd throw for 11 TDs on Sunday.
2. The Chargers' special teams have been an unadulterated mess. If ever there was a game where Jacoby Jones can make a sizable difference throughout, this is it. Jakespeare's good for a special teams TD on Sunday.
3. Will Kubes remain steadfast in his refusal to take advantage of what he has in Arian Foster? If so, as TDC noted in this week's Blueprint, that stance would seem to be a recipe for season suicide. For some reason, I think Kubes and Dennison are going to make it a point to run early, due in no small part to the fact that they didn't last week, so they'll figure San Diego won't be expecting it. Thus, we get what we want, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Arian Foster gets 20+ carries, tallies 100+ rushing yards, and scores 2 TDs.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: As I opined in the wake of the MNF debacle, Sunday is a potential season-defining game for your Houston Texans (if they lose) and a potential future-defining game for the Gary Kubiak Era in his hometown. Going back to last year (and even earlier this season, versus Kansas City), it seems as though whenever Gary Kubiak is up against it, when the villagers are about to break through the castle walls and finally do something with those torches and pitchforks, the Texans respond. My head tells me the Chargers are going to drive the nail in the coffin and win by a TD or more. My heart tells me the Texans answer the bell and win by less than a TD.
This could very easily be a case of me projecting instead of predicting. This could very easily be me pulling for the hometown guy to pull a
running play out of his playbook rabbit out of his hat. This could very easily be me chugging one last glass of the 2010 Houston Texans Battle Red Kool-Aid. Indeed, this could be me pulling a Kubes of my own and ignoring what's staring me right in the face. And if that's what it is, I'll be here on Monday to say, "That's on me." Chargers 24, Texans 27.