As we prepare to enter the second half of the season, your Houston Texans are 2-6. They have lost TE Owen Daniels (although he may return), S Danieal Manning, LB Brian Cushing, QB Matt Schaub; and now RB Arian Foster
may WILL have season ending back surgery. That doesn't bode well for a team that entered the season as a realistic Super Bowl candidate; at least on paper.
Many fans and analysts might logically write this team off for the 2013 season, and focus elsewhere in the AFC for the potential champion to meet the NFC next February at MetLife Stadium in the Super Bowl. However, the Texans' players have not given up yet, and Andre Johnson says they are not out of it yet in this interview on Texans Radio.
"It ain't over 'till it's over!" - Yogi Berra
Why would Andre still think the Texans could finish strong and still have a chance? For one thing, the AFC teams that have enjoyed a strong first half of the season might just start to slide off in the second half due to tougher opponents and injuries that all teams are wrestling with at this point in the year. The Texans would most likely need to win out these next eight games, or perhaps only lose ONE more, to have a shot at the playoffs, but it is mathematically possible. In fact, they could still win the division.
I took the liberty, in the broadest sense of the word, to play out potential records for all AFC teams the rest of the year to see how things "could" stack up in favor of the Texans. Here are the results of those "fantasy projections:"
|AFC SOUTH||SECOND HALF SEASON LOSSES TO||RECORD||CONF||DIV|
|Colts||Titans, Bengals, Chiefs, Texans||10-6||6-6||3-3|
|Titans||Raiders, Colts, Broncos, Cardinals, Texans||7-9||6-6||3-3|
|AFC WEST||SECOND HALF SEASON LOSSES TO||RECORD||CONF||DIV|
|Broncos||Chargers, Patriots, Chiefs, Texans||11-5||7-5||4-2|
|Chiefs||Broncos, Chargers (x2), Redskins, Raiders||11-5||8-4||2-4|
|Chargers||Dolphins, Bengals, Giants, Broncos||8-8||6-6||4-2|
|Raiders||Giants, Texans, Cowboys, Jets, Chargers, Broncos||5-11||5-7||2-4|
|AFC EAST||SECOND HALF SEASON LOSSES TO||RECORD||CONF||DIV|
|Patriots||Panthers, Texans, Dolphins||11-5||8-4||4-2|
|Jets||Bills, Dolphins, Panthers, Browns||8-8||5-7||3-3|
|Dolphins||Bucs, Panthers, Bills, Jets||8-8||7-5||2-4|
|Bills||Falcons, Bucs, Patriots||7-9||5-7||2-4|
|AFC NORTH||SECOND HALF SEASON LOSSES TO||RECORD||CONF||DIV|
|Browns||Bengals, Pats, Bears||8-8||7-5||4-2|
|Ravens||Bears, Jets, Lions, Pats, Bengals||6-10||5-7||3-3|
|Steelers||Bills, Lions, Browns (x2), Ravens, Dolphins, Bengals||3-13||2-10||1-5|
This incredibly far-fetched fantasy would mean last year's Super Bowl Champions finish this season with a record of 6-10, and the AFC Champion Steelers of the 2011 season finish at 3-13 this year. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals enter the playoffs with the number one seed in the AFC, and are the only team to represent the AFC North.
The Patriots glide comfortably forward to be the sole representatives of the AFC East with the number two seed in the AFC. Meanwhile, the three ring circus of Jets, Bills and Dolphins do their best to manage the media and fans in their respective realities of time and space.
Denver edges out the Chiefs with a better division record thanks to the Chargers sweeping Kansas City, thus forcing the Chiefs to accept a wild card entrance as the number five seed. The Broncos earn the number three seed, and the NFL adorns the outside of Sports Authority Stadium with massive pictures of Andrew Luck as they prepare for a wild card showdown against the Colts. Fans in Denver riot and threaten the NFL.
And now the moment you have all been waiting for [drum roll] as the Texans WIN the AFC South with a better division record than the Colts who enter the playoffs as the sixth seed. In this wild and unlikely fictional adventure, the Houston Texans would host a rematch against the Chiefs at Reliant Stadium as the fourth seed in the AFC.
Since we are crazy enough to project any of these outcomes, why stop there? Let's play it forward and see how the Texans could make it to the Super Bowl.
The Colts upset the Broncos a mile above sea level, and the Texans obliterate the Chiefs to a thunderous crowd in Houston. This sets up the divisional playoff games of the Colts traveling to Cincinnati, while the Texans head to Foxborough for a rematch of last year's divisional game against the Patriots.
The Colts' luck runs out as the Bengals make that big leap in the post-season, and then prepare to host the AFC Championship game. Meanwhile, after a long week of uncharacteristic arrogance and presumptuous statements to the media, Tom Brady and "The Hoodie" fall short of victory as the ragtag Texans finally expel their demons in a season that looked all but lost at the mid point.
The Texans defeat the Bengals for a third straight year in post-season competition and win their first AFC Championship! The Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium awaits!
Tom Hanks in Castaway said; "Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"
Isn't that the most incredible part of life? Tomorrow the sun will rise, and we don't know what the tide will bring to us. So why not a turnaround from this misery? Why not a wild run to the Super Bowl?
Alright, we know this is incredibly unlikely, but it is technically still an extreme possibility of potential outcomes until proven otherwise. Why dream? Why hope? Because you still have Andre Johnson and JJ Watt on this team, and they haven't given up yet. Neither should we.