Football is inherently meaningless, and writing about football is even more so. I’m aware of this. It’s there as I watch the Texans play LIVE and gulp down condensed versions and coach’s film. I don’t care about meaning. I like it, I have the time for it, I love the game, it enriches my life, and if I can pass any of this enjoyment to anyone else at all, it’s a bonus. While the season marches forth and we proceed through time, this knowledge hangs back in the wrinkles of my brain. I don’t care, but it’s there.
Then the sun arrives, burning faster and burning bright. The games aren’t going on, and life feels good to embark upon again, and all this worthlessness crawls out from under the covers to the forefront.
The offseason. The little bumps of interest in the constant march to September. This bit of foreplay is the most fruitless of all endeavors. The NFL schedule gets released. It’s broken down and predictions are given week by week, even when picking final records in August, much less April, is impossible and picking games week to week is difficult. The NFL Draft hasn’t even happened yet. This is as meaningless as it gets. The leaves on the trees are more interesting.
I hate myself. But I guess we are doing this.
WEEK ONE: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Prediction: 20-30 (L)
Hope always lets you down. Enjoy things as they come. It leads to a surprise when neutrality becomes actuality. Rarely do expectations intersect with the course of reality. The Texans lose to the Patriots. It can be at home. It can be on the road. It can be on a train. It can be on a plane. It doesn’t matter. As long as the Texans keep losing to New England, it’s best to expect it to happen again. Don’t think that Deshaun Watson is going to march into New England and pull the turtle out of its shell. It will only hurt your feelings.
WEEK TWO: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
Prediction: 30-17 (W)
I don’t understand the Titans as of today. They have a lot of pretty good players. They have a new head coach who was a disaster as a defensive coordinator. Marcus Mariota, a man of precision, loved to turn the ball over more than Blake Bortles last year. They spent big on Malcolm Butler, but their secondary will still be troubling, and the pass rush won’t be good enough to cover it up. I expect Deshaun Watson to obliterate them. Plus J.J. Watt loves playing Tennessee and will still be healthy since it’s only Week Two.
WEEK THREE: New York Giants at Houston Texans
Prediction: 27-17 (W)
I’m already exhausted. I don’t understand the Titans and I watched them play 12 games last year. How am I supposed to understand anything right now about a New York team that was killed by injuries last year, is dealing with internal squabbles, has a top five pick, and will likely feature an old quarterback again? I’m just here for Nate Solder’s weak punch being exploited by the Texans’ pass rush and Odell Beckham Jr. giving it to Kevin Johnson, but it won’t be enough.
WEEK FOUR: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Prediction: 38-10 (W)
Andrew Luck isn’t playing this early in the season. Chris Ballard sat on his cap space, and he’s trading down in the draft. If the Colts were 100% sure Luck was healthy, they would have gone for it and tried to flip this house in an offseason. They’ve done nothing. They signed Eric Ebron, I think. Other than that, it’s the same team as last year. Their front seven is underrated, but their secondary is still nu-metal. Their offensive line is a wreck. Luck is the cement that kept this ill-built roster winning games. Without him, it will continue to be a wreck while they rebuild until he’s back.
WEEK FIVE : Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
Prediction: 23-27 (L)
I like the Cowboys. Last year was strange and tumultuous, dealing with the will he play or will he not play Ezekiel Elliott odyssey. Elliott will be here this season. Dak Prescott can better run an offense built off him being complementary to the run game, tossing play action boots. Their defense is underrated. Dallas will beat Houston at NRG Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
WEEK SIX: Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans
Prediction: 30-10 (W)
Stack those skulls just for the fun of it. AJ McCarron versus Houston’s defense is an Old West train window opening slaughtering. Everything is bloody and dusty.
WEEK SEVEN: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Prediction: 17-24 (L)
The Jags should have won more games than they did last year. They know who they are. They went even more in on it this offseason. They are going to be even better in 2018. Both games Houston plays against the Cats will be skin-shredding.
WEEK EIGHT: Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
Prediction: 35-20 (W)
The [NAME REDACTED] Revenge Game! The Dolphins weren’t good when they made the playoffs in 2016. They weren’t good last year. They aren’t going to be good this year. The offense is going to mediocre, and the defense will be bad. Houston will sleepwalk through them like a listless underachieving twenty-something on Thursday Night Football.
I just wish I was passionate about something.
WEEK NINE: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Prediction: 20-17 (W)
Dude, I got no idea. Case Keenum was the most efficient passer in football last year and flew into an elite, painted sky. Did he fly too far? Probably. We’ll have no idea until four games go by. The Broncos’ defense can still smash. I don’t think delightful is a good adjective to describe a football player. Whatever. Von Miller is delightful.
As for the game, flip a coin.
WEEK TEN: BYE
WEEK ELEVEN: Houston Texans at Washington Redskins
Prediction: 20-17 (W)
Alex Smith is perfect for Jay Gruden’s West Coast passing offense. He’ll throw short a lot and take some shots deep to Paul Richardson. The front seven, Ryan Kerrigan especially, and the offensive line is underrated. Washington will end up .500. Like the Denver game, this too is a coin flip.
WEEK ELEVEN: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Prediction: 17-23 (L)
This just seems like the type of game the Texans lose. It’s late at night. The Titans’ backs are against the wall. Mike Vrabel will lead his men. The culture of grit and hard work he has instilled upon Tennessee shall make his squadron want it more. They will get their revenge from earlier this year.
WEEK THIRTEEN: Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans
Prediction: 40-17 (W)
Is Hue Jackson still here? Is Gregg Williams still here? Yes. Okay. Tanking works; see your Houston Astros and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Browns are so putrescent they can’t even make tanking work. They’re going to be terrible as long as their coaching staff stays the same.
WEEK FOURTEEN: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Prediction: 31-13 (W)
If Luck does play in 2018, this is about the time you’ll see him. Shaking some rust off. Scrubbing the graffiti off the rocks. Even if he does play, it will just be preseason football at this point.
WEEK FIFTEEN: Houston Texans at New York Jets
Prediction: 20-27 (L)
The Jets have an underrated set of skill players. They have the makings of a chaotic secondary. Their front seven is solid enough. New York is a sleeper wild card team. It’ll be cold.
I don’t know. Dome teams struggle on the road in the cold.
WEEK SIXTEEN: Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles
Prediction: 17-34 (L)
Carson Wentz didn’t start during the Eagles’ run last year. He’s going to want it. The Eagles have the talent to repeat again this year, and with this infrastructure and the moves they made, they are going to go for it. The Eagles will be the best team Houston will play all year.
WEEK SEVENTEEN: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Prediction: 23-16 (W)
Jacksonville has the division sewn up by then.
Houston goes 10-6 in 2018, I guess. Or 8-8. I’ll have more to say later, when things that actually matter come in August.