The last few days before the first game of an NFL season are the worst. The thrill of the start of camp has faded. Preseason games are done. You’ve watched most of the other teams already play their opener.
And yet the Texans' season remains dormant. I feel your pain. Every second feels like a century. I would gladly give my firstborn son if I could accelerate time (note: I have only 2 daughters), but alas the wait continues.
By this point, you’ve read every season preview you can find. All of them say essentially the same thing. The Texans are good. They may or may not be good enough to win a Super Bowl. Matt Schaub is a good QB, but probably not good enough to win it on his own. J.J. Watt is a beast. Arian Foster is hurt.
Blah, blah, blah.
The thing is, you know these things all say the same thing. If you found a new one right now, you’d probably get excited and click on it, only to be disappointed when you didn’t learn anything new.
Well, guess what. This isn’t another one.
No, this is the super happy and optimistic preview. If you’re looking for objectivity, it’s out back in the tool shed doing unspeakable things with journalistic integrity and probability. They’re all unavailable at the moment.
So here are the ground rules (yes, the super happy and optimistic preview has rules). There has to be at least some semblance of reality. Arian Foster can’t just magically gain super powers that allow him to score at will on any play and Derek Newton can’t just magically learn to pass block.
Aaaand, that’s about it. I guess I should have called it the ground rule.
Let’s start on offense.
First, the right side of the offensive line will finally solidify. Brandon Brooks will absolutely take hold of right guard and become a mauling beast. Derek Newton, as mentioned above, won’t become the right side version of Duane Brown, but he will no longer be the liability he has been, and he will become a strong run blocker.
The rest of the line will remain strong and will stay healthy. They will key the second of the three drivers. As a result, Arian Foster will have the strongest season of his career with 1,800 rushing yards, 700 receiving yards, and 25 total touchdowns.
Foster is greatly aided by the support of Ben Tate, who performs brilliantly in his backup role. All of this results in the brilliant resurrection of the oddly-absent-in-2012 play-action.
The third of these driving factors is the deepest and most productive receiving corps the Texans have ever fielded. Andre Johnson will continue to be Andre Johnson, but Nuk will free him up significantly and be a tremendous complement. The difference, however, will come from an improved Keshawn Martin and the return of DeVier Posey. Yes, Posey will be such a force in his return from injury that his performance will single-handedly cause MDC to abandon his Joe Marciano induced boycot and spurn the triumphant return of the 2DH.
All told, the Texans will have a dynamic and explosive offense, capable of scoring at will on any defense in the NFL.
Of course, they’re aided by the fact that they don’t have to face their own defense.
The rest of the league, however, is not so lucky. See, the defense will be simply dominant.
J.J. Watt will actually find a way to improve on last year’s performance. He will destroy quarterbacks, running backs, linemen, and even find a way to lead the team in special teams tackles despite not playing special teams (no, I do not consider this a violation of the ground rule… it’s J.J. Watt for crying out loud).
Brian Cushing, on the other hand, will punish every offensive player he sees as payback for last year’s injury, even ending T.J. Yates’ season early when Yates asks him to sign a football for his nephew.
In the secondary, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph combine to shut down opposing receivers while Danieal Manning does his damage in the middle. This frees up Ed Reed, who recovers nicely from his hip surgery, to roam centerfield at will and lead the league in interceptions.
The defense ends up leading the league in sacks, points allowed, yards allowed, and number of offensive players to require a mid-game uniform change.
All of this will be plenty good enough for the Texans to easily win the AFC South and the #1 seed in the AFC. After a first round bye, the Texans face the Bengals in the divisional round (I had to). Well, you know how that ends.
In the conference championship game, Peyton Manning and Company come down to Houston and fail to experience southern hospitality. He struggles in the thick air while Schaub and team pick apart the Broncos' secondary. The locker room staff is grateful as Denver’s complete lack of a pass rush make it unnecessary for them to even wash Schaub’s uniform.
The Texans advance to the Super Bowl in New York against the Green Bay Packers. The weather is brutal, and the experience is terrible for all fans, which everyone not employed by the NFL saw coming years ago. All the pundits claim that Green Bay has the advantage due to their familiarity with the weather. They forget that J.J. Watt is a northern cold weather boy and more "Wisconsin" than anybody on the Packers (I’m too lazy to actually verify this).
The Texans will win handily (I don’t think I would survive a close game) and claim the Lombardi Trophy.
Throughout the whole thing, the special teams will still suck. It just won’t matter so much anymore.
Welcome back, football. I’ve missed you.