This has been a historic week for our motley fan base. It's the first time Texans fans have ever had a playoff game of our own to look forward to. Weird feeling, this. Hard to describe, really. I was trying to put it into words, and I was failing miserably. And then, for some reason, I was struck by something.
Morgan Freeman. Or, more accurately, Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding. Specifically, I recalled Red's last few lines from "Shawshank Redemption." After a relatively painless adaptation, I think it sums up where I'm at pretty well.
I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a fan of a playoff team can feel, a fan at the start of a postseason whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it until tomorrow. I hope to see the Texans play well, and to see them win. I hope Reliant is as loud as it has been in my dreams. I hope.
1. Andre Johnson shall make his playoff debut count. The guy's been waiting for this since 2003, and he's not about to let a cranky hamstring stop him from making an impression. T.J. Yates only really had one half with 'Dre before he got hurt, and the Yates-to-Johnson connection that afternoon against Atlanta produced four catches for 97 yards. On Saturday, pencil 'Dre in for 7 catches, 103 yards, and a TD.
2. If Monty Python was writing updated material and was comprised of knowledgeable Texans fans, they would tweak the punchline of one of their more famous sketches from "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" to "Nobody expects James Casey!". Casey reminded you of what he can do last week, and he's going to build on that tomorrow. Pencil him in for four catches and 47 yards. Casey's contribution will be key, because Owen Daniels will not go for 100 yards again. Joel Dreessen will tack on three catches for 22 yards, but he will be kept out of the end zone.
3. Andy Dalton, scion of Katy, will have a considerably rougher day at Reliant than he did in Cincinnati a few weeks ago. Tomorrow, with 70,000+ fans screaming at him like they've never screamed before, he's going to make Matt Ryan's experience at Reliant on December 2nd look like a walk in the park. Dalton is going to have a hard time all day, even with the excellence that is A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham running routes for him. I look for two interceptions on the afternoon from Dalton, which will be one more than his Texans counterpart will toss. The Texans will win the turnover battle.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: I've seen some people predicting this won't even be close. I'm not one of them. I also don't buy this folderol about the Texans having lost three games in a row as some sort of Marche funèbre. I do believe, however, that a combination of Andre Johnson and Reliant Stadium will be the difference. The Texans' first trip to the postseason will not end with a single game. Bengals 17, Texans 20.Bengals vs Texans coverage