Gary Kubiak doesn't know how to react as he realizes that for the first time, he has avoided a negative prediction.
As we all progress through our daily lives we are constantly faced with value decisions. Even as the day is beginning, we must decide between having breakfast or getting an extra fifteen minutes of sleep. If we decide on breakfast, we must then balance the value of more bacon versus even more bacon.
Leaving our abodes, we make a myriad of decisions where we trade off our various transportation options against the potential value we can expect from them. We trade off our transportation options against cost, time, and the likelihood of reaching our destination at the same time as that hot girl a couple of cubicles down.
For the most part, these value calculations are done intuitively. We don't actually perform math to decide between getting a workout or getting a beer. Yet, as we progress through life and enter the corporate world (i.e., give in to "The Man"), we spend more time focusing on the minutiae of these decisions (especially where money is involved) and even occasionally develop artifacts to support or explain the trade-offs (otherwise known as spreadsheets and presentations... my life sucks).
Yes, the process of evaluating a value decision can become quite the science.
Despite this evolution, however, the primal portion of our being (otherwise known as that thing that makes us dig the foosball) causes us to desire and seek out certain items at this time of year -- items which provide us with absolutely no value whatsoever.
I bring you, the predictions.
Because it's still early in the post, and I don't want to pull a prognosticating muscle, we'll start with an easy one.
First off, I predict that the right side of the offensive line will ultimately turn out to be fine. They're not going to make the Pro Bowl or anything, but they will play well enough that for the most part, we won't even talk about them. Still, they will have a few moments that will cause me to increase my rate of homebrew consumption (and thus the rate of homebrew production). Most of these moments will happen in the first few weeks.
The line will be so, um, okay, that Arian Foster will again exceed 2,100 all purpose yards on the season. He'll have 1,500 rushing yards and 600 receiving.
The Texans will enter the final game of the season with a chance to go undefeated... within the AFC South (for a second, you thought that was a real bold prediction, didn't you?). They will lose that game, however, to end the season with a 5-1 record within the division.
That loss, though, will be mostly due to the fact that the Texans' starters will be less active than me during that game, and my activity will consist primarily of getting up for another beer and scratching my... well, let's just say I won't be that active. Which I guess means I'm backtracking on my answer to Question 4 here, where I said that Matt Schaub and Foster would play 16 games. Great, the season hasn't even started and I'm already down one prediction. I won't blame you if you stop reading here.
At least one remote in my house will be damaged because of the replacement refs. When the real refs come back, I will damage a second remote. Side note: A buddy of mine is a referee in the NCAA, and I was busting on him the other day saying that he should have been a replacement NFL ref. He said that he knows some of those guys, but they had to give up their NCAA eligibility. Would you give up your job (assuming you love it) for a chance to play what may be one game in the NFL?
The player who will lead the Texans in sacks will be Brooks Reed. He will have 12.5 sacks, but it won't be like in the old Mario Williams days where he has twice as many as the next closest player. Connor Barwin will have 11, Whitney Mercilus 7, J.J. Watt 6.5, Brian Cushing 5, and Antonio Smith 5.
My James Casey love will know no bounds. At least one person will accuse me of stalking Casey. That person may or may not be James Casey himself.
The turkey this Thanksgiving will taste better than any turkey in the history of Thanksgiving. For the first time in history, Texans fans will enjoy their turkey with a bit of victory gravy.
My daughter will utter her first curse word shortly after a Matt Schaub interception. Seriously, she's a freaking parrot right now. She repeats absolutely everything she hears which, honestly, can be pretty hilarious at times. Actually, that wouldn't be her first curse word, considering my brother-in-law is a sailor.
Brian Cushing will miss one game, but it won't be for injury. He'll have to make a court appearance to address charges of involuntary manslaughter after killing Blaine Gabbert. Tim and MDC will work pro bono to get the charges tossed, but we'll all share a good laugh because we'll know that it was, in fact, voluntary.
Ben Tate, Kevin Walter, and Connor Barwin will play their final seasons in Houston. Tate will get traded after the offseason, Walter will be released, and Barwin will not be re-signed. My concern with Barwin is that he'll either have a huge season and Rick Smith will not want to pay the premium, or he'll struggle to replicate last year's success and somebody else will overpay.
As happens every year, I will at some point wonder if I wouldn't be a happier person if I just started gardening on Sundays.
The Texans will go 12-4 this season with losses to Green Bay, Chicago (hey, there's one every season), New England, and the aforementioned last game loss to Indy.
And before the final prediction, let me set the stage a little bit. My favorite teams in the four major sports are the Texans (duh), Astros, Rockets, and Florida Panthers (yes, we do exist). If we figure I really started following sports at the age of 4 (if only to make the math easy), that's 30 years of sports (we'll count the Oilers prior to the Texans). The Oilers were around for 15 of those years, and the Texans for 10. The Astros and Rockets were around for all 30, but the end of the '94 MLB season was wiped out and the 2012 NBA season hasn't started, so we can really only count 29. The Panthers started play in 1993, and have played 18 seasons (with the 2004 season being lost to strike). All that adds up to 101 seasons of sports. And two championships. That's it.
All of that is to say that when a season comes along where I have a chance to legitimately predict my team to win a championship (and, oh by the way, let's keep in mind that my prediction has about as much impact in what actually happens as the contents of my cat's litter box), I'm taking it.
So there's your final prediction. The Houston Texans will end the season as Super Bowl champions.