The Friday Cody Stoots 6 pack

Adrian Peterson is key to Sunday's Texans game

Adrian Peterson will be a tough challenge for the Texans. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

 

1. The Texans injury report couldn't look any better than it does so far this week. Aaron Colvin, Johnathan Joseph, Keke Coutee, and Andre Hal all seemingly have a chance to play against Washington. Zach Cunningham is a longshot for this weekend but trending in the right direction for the Monday night game against Tennessee. If Colvin and Joseph are back, even not at full strength, the secondary could be scary. The safeties have played fantastic this season and if they get help from the corners watch out. 

2. There is a solid argument to be made Alex Smith is one of the least impressive opposing quarterbacks left on the Texans roster. Only Sam Darnold, who's playing poorly now for a bad Jets team, and Blake Bortles are worse than Smith. He's average at best in almost every aspect of his play. He doesn't turn the ball over a ton which is a big positive for a guy who doesn't hit big plays hardly at all. They're not very dynamic on offense either, but, they do enough to get the job done. They can't hang in a shootout but if this game gets muddy and ugly Washington will stay in it. 

3. Adrian Peterson is one of the most impressive athletes in NFL history. His level of play at his age, after his injuries, is incredible. He's fifth in the league in rushing and can still handle a heavy load on the ground. He's likely the best player on Washington's offense and should see a heavy dose of action Sunday to try to stymie the Texans pass rush. He is the type of player that if he gets going the Texans could have to over-correct to stop him and allow Alex Smith some room to make a play. 

4. Titans and Colts in Indianapolis is a game Texans fans should pay attention to on Sunday. The winner is going to be nipping at the Texans heels in the AFC South and both have to come to Houston before the season ends. Andrew Luck has been a fun watch in recent weeks and their offense seems to be plenty dangerous enough to win them games. The Titans regularly surprise, both good and bad, with their performances. They have a win over the Patriots and the Texans, with their backup quarterback against Houston. They also have losses to the Bills and Dolphins. They are hitting their stride on offense and Mike Vrabel has the defense playing well. 

5. With their loss last night, it seems the Packers are unlikely to make the playoffs. They need to overhaul quite a bit of the team in the coming offseason and attempt to maximize Aaron Rodgers' final years. He's one of the most impressive quarterbacks to ever play and the team around him just hasn't been good enough to make noise every year like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady's teams were in their primes. Aaron Jones is a nice piece and their wideouts are pretty good but the defense needs more playmakers and their offensive line regularly disappoints. 

6. Sunday Night Football is one hell of a game and one of the reasons the Packers will have such a tough time maximizing their remaining time with Aaron Rodgers. Mitchell Trubuisky is playing very well and Khalil Mack and the defense have struggled a little but have plenty of ability. The Vikings have stabilized their defense and Kirk Cousins is regularly earning his money. With Dalvin Cook back, this could be one of the most dangerous NFC teams down the stretch. The winner is going to be in the pole position in the NFC North while the loser will look towards week 17 with revenge in their mind in the second matchup between these two. 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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