At 2-7, with so many key players hobbled or totally lost for the season, rooting for the Houston Texans to beat the Oakland Raiders today may seem counterproductive on a couple of levels. A victory today seemingly hurts the Texans' position in the 2014 NFL Draft. Additionally, every win from here on out could potentially serve as justification for Bob McNair to keep some or all of the status quo, refusing to make sweeping changes in the front office and/or coaching staff this offseason. While I can't bring myself to openly root for the Texans to lose, I can say without hesitation that a loss tomorrow isn't going to upset me as much as it would have, say, three weeks ago. I'm comfortably numb. YOU CAN'T HURT ME ANY MORE THIS YEAR, TEXANS. I WON'T LET YOU.
With a deadened soul, I give you three (3) things sure to happen at Reliant Stadium tomorrow.
1. Case Keenum continues to impress. His ability to recognize and handle pressure is a work in progress, but Keenum has shown a knack for making plays in a way that we hadn't seen from Matt Schaub for many moons. Keenum will finish with three more passing touchdowns, and he'll turn it over once.
2. Andre Johnson won't be on the receiving end of all three of those touchdowns. Just two of them, on his way to 113 yards. DeVier Posey will have the first touchdown reception of his professional career tomorrow.
3. The Texans' defense in 2011 was outstanding. The Texans' defense in 2012, on the back of J.J. Watt, was very good, except, you know, against offenses that spread it out. The Texans' defense in 2013, neat total yardage statistics aside, has not been very good at all. Granted, Houston's offense and special teams have done the defense no favors when it comes to field position, but the defense doesn't really stop anyone once they get inside Houston's red zone. Tomorrow, however, I expect them to be better. Given the Raiders' quarterback situation, there's no excuse for the Texans not to be. I'm calling two Oakland turnovers, three sacks, and some semblance of consistent pressure throughout the afternoon.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: Some teams just don't know how to win. The 2013 Houston Texans are one of those teams. All week, I fully intended to pick the Raiders to beat the Texans, notwithstanding Gary Kubiak's inspirational return. In light of the news that Matt McGloin will be making his first professional start tomorrow in place of an injured Terrelle Pryor, however, I've changed my mind. While the Texans have demonstrated a truly innate and impressive ability to blow games in mind-numbing fashion this season, even I cannot pick them to lose to Matt McGloin at Reliant Stadium tomorrow. Raiders 17, Texans 24.