I have some bad news for you. Both the Two Day Hangover and The Pregame are on hiatus for the week. Over the last few days, MDC has had some real-life stuff that demanded his attention and cut into his writing time, so he asked me to send his sincere apologies to all of you and at no time suggested that anyone who has a problem with the lack of 2DH and Pregame urinate up a length of rope. He knows a lot of people look forward to his unique form of hateful rambling, and he hopes to get back to it next week.
In the meantime, I humbly offer you this edition of "Three and Out," which I like to think of as the less entertaining older brother of the 2DH. Sure, Three and Out isn't going to sweep you off your feet, but its checks don't bounce, it's always on time for dinner, and it opens the door for ladies. You could (and have!) done worse.
1. Johnathan Joseph played the worst game of his Houston Texans career on Monday night. It was an anomaly. On Sunday night, he picks Aaron Rodgers off and returns to the J-Jo form to which we've all become accustomed. Am I calling this prediction to try to convince myself that Joseph's groin is not a problem and the reason he looked so bad in New Jersey? I'll answer that question with another question: Did Gavrilo Princip assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, sparking the start of World War I?
2. The Packers weren't much of a running team with Cedric Benson, and it stands to reason they'll be even more pass-oriented without Benson on Sunday night. I would find this much more frightening if Greg Jennings was expected to play on Sunday night. There's also the question of whether Jermichael Finley will play (B.J. Raji's a big question mark for Sunday as well, which could make the sledding easier for Arian Foster, but that's another matter).
I know Finley's been very underwhelming this year, but he could have some success in the middle of the field if he plays, assuming the Texans don't try to primarily utilize a safety to cover him. Without Jennings and Finley, Aaron Rodgers will have to make hay with Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and Randall Cobb. That's not a bad troika by any means (and it says here Cobb notches a TD in the return game), but I'd give the Texans' secondary the leg up in that matchup. If, you know, J-Jo is J-Jo. Man...back to that again. I need to move on quickly. Anyway, Aaron Rodgers turns the ball over twice, becomes intimately familiar with J.J. Watt (2 sacks), Antonio Smith (1 sack), and Brooks Reed (1 sack), and has a generally tough time consistently moving the Green Bay offense down the field. He'll throw for a TD and run for another one, but it's going to a be a long, frustrating night for one of the best QBs in the league.
3. Speaking of QBs...Matt Schaub throws for two TDs of his own and turns it over once (on a strip sack by Clay Matthews). As the Texans have generally done this year, they'll come out throwing on their first possession before eventually scoring on an Arian Foster run. After that, I'm guessing the Texans lean heavily on their running game to (1) keep Rodgers off the field and (2) burn clock.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: As it was with the Jets and Broncos, this was a game that I initially had marked as a loss when the schedule came out. And as I did with the Jets and Broncos, I'm reversing course. The Texans are more vulnerable up the middle without Brian Cushing; I just don't think a depleted Packers squad is the team to take advantage of that. Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best in the business, the Packers are not totally bereft of weapons, and I do appreciate the notion that Green Bay may have a sense of desperation that the Texans don't have. Despite all that, I have to give the edge to the Texans and what will be a truly electric atmosphere at Reliant Stadium. Texans 30, Packers 24.