Every-Thing Sports

Are the Texans lucky the Colts are out of Luck?

Jonathan Ferrey

The news came out of nowhere. It was like one of those crack back blocks on an interception return. That defensive tackle has been getting shut out all game long. He hasn't been able to stop the run or push the pocket. The quarterback has been teasing him all game long and talking mad trash. And then it happened. He finally got some pressure, forced an interception, now he's looking to through a block. Soon as he turns around...WHAM! He lays the quarterback out with as vicious of a legal hit he can.

That's the best way I can describe Colt's quarterback Andrew Luck's abrupt retirement. I was taking a shower and shaving my head. I heard my phone buzz a few times and saw my good friend Joe Hutchinson texted me twice. I quickly did a search and saw the news had just come out and was confirmed by several reliable sites within the minutes of me looking it up. My initial thought: Texans fans are about to hit the roof with excitement. But should they? How does Luck's sudden retirement effect the chances the Texans have in winning the division this year? What are some obstacles they'll face?

History of mediocrity

"We went 9-7 and won the AFC South two years in a row." Bill O'Brien's statement is the epitome of them being mediocre. This organization has been satisfied with average since its inception. Their obsession with the Patriots is akin to a little brother who's not happy with his C average level of work constantly trying to replicate big brother's A average work and always falling short. Way short. With Luck out of the way, this should open the doors to the car and hand the keys to the Texans. But can they drive the car?

Watch out for the rest of the division

The Jags finally have a capable quarterback. The Titans are in year two of the Vrabel era. The Colts still have a ton of talent. If the Texans don't win the division this year, it won't surprise me. If they miss the playoffs, that will throw me off. Two wins a year was gifted to them if they take advantage. T.Y. Hilton can't kill them because Jacoby Brissett can't get him the ball like Luck did. The Jags are still a team that went 5-11 last season. The Titans still have Marcus Mariota under center and they're not sure if he's their franchise quarterback. The division just became that much more winnable.

O'Brien's ego

Another obstacle in taking advantage of Luck's departure is O'Brien's ego. When I spoke on this a few weeks ago, it seemed to resonate with a lot of you. You guys seem to feel the same way I do. His ego is bigger than the Toyota Center, NRG, and The Juice Box put together. If O'Brien can't contain himself and learn to not be this franchise's worst enemy, this team will be able to fulfill its potential. If O'Brien continues with status quo, well, you already read about the history of mediocrity earlier.

Overconfidence

Teams with as many deficiencies as this Texans squad should never feel overconfident. But when your biggest rival loses its franchise quarterback, it can inflate your sense of self-worth. Teams can often feel as if they were anointed and preordained to their destiny as division champs. This can lead to taking things for granted, taking opponents lightly, and losing focus. If they take those keys, get that car, start to drive, and get distracted, they'll eventually crash and burn. Being arrogant without putting in the work everyday, taking things serious, and focusing in on the task at hand will cause them to fall hard.

Pressure

I was told long ago that pressure can bust pipes or make diamonds. The end result is up to you. The Texans have a golden opportunity to make some beautiful diamonds, but they can't succumb to the pressure. Giving in to the pressure and busting like one of those pipes could prove to be a fatal blow. O'Brien and several others would be held responsible and fired or released. A total rehaul of the coaching and front office staff would be necessary in my opinion. Considering there's no general manager, that new hire would be charged with bringing this team to prominence. With the amount of talent already here, and the cap space, he wouldn't have much grace in doing so. The pressure is enormous, but it shouldn't be crippling. It should fuel the fire.

I'm always fair and objective in my assessments. I even posted a pic of how I feel Texans fans are feeling upon hearing the news. I truly hope this is the stroke of luck the fanbase needs (#DadJoke). These fans have been so hungry for football, and a winner, that there are roughly 32,000 people on the waiting list for season tickets! Another good friend of mine put his name on the list in 2011 and just got a call to purchase them a few weeks ago! This city, more specifically this fanbase, deserves a consistent winner for the way they support this team. But if the powers that be don't take advantage of the opportunity given to them, I'd hate to see the backlash. Luck equals opportunity plus preparation. Let's hope the Texans are prepared for this opportunity and get lucky.

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Urquidy should get the nod over McCullers. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After being basically overmatched in their season opening loss at Kansas City, the Texans try it this week against the other team vastly superior to them in the AFC last season with the Baltimore Ravens at fan-less NRG Stadium Sunday. They met last year with the Ravens humiliating the Texans 41-7 in Baltimore.

The Chiefs are a tough measuring stick, but the Texans didn't measure up in any area. Meanwhile, in their opener last Sunday the Ravens bashed the Browns 38-6 with reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson completing 20 of 25 passes with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Jackson ran only seven times, last time he had fewer carries was the season opener last season. On paper there is little reason to think the Texans win. They have no position unit advantage with the possible exception of wide receiver, but given the puny outputs of Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, and Kenny Stills in Kansas City let's see them have a good game before giving them any checkmarks over opponents. The Ravens are seven point favorites.

The playoffs are in sight for the Astros

The Astros continue to slog (slog, not slug) their way to the postseason. Entering the weekend with just 10 games left in this truncated regular season they sit as a paragon of mediocrity: 25 wins and 25 losses. That has about clinched a playoff spot though since in the gimmicky short season postseason format the Astros are a virtual lock to qualify by finishing second in the American League West. They are three games ahead of Seattle. If somehow they wind up tied there is no one game playoff, and the Astros have already clinched the tiebreaker over the Mariners. The Astros play only lousy teams to close. Three this weekend vs. the Diamondbacks, then three to try to polish off the Mariners in Seattle, then four in Arlington at the Rangers.

The Astros' bullpen will be stronger in the playoffs

The Astros' lousy bullpen has been a big weakness in the 60 game schedule and would have been a bigger problem over a 162 game schedule. In the playoffs, that weakness could be greatly diminished. In the opening round best of three Zack Greinke is sure to start one of the first two games. If Justin Verlander makes it back to start the other, that leaves just one starting spot left for Dusty Baker to decide likely between Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers. That would add Framber Valdez and Christian Javier to the Astros' pen.

Since the Astros will have no playoff games at Minute Maid Park, Urquidy (with two more decent starts) should get the nod over McCullers. It is bizarre that McCullers has been so regularly outstanding at MMP while so often inept elsewhere. In five home starts this season McCullers has a 1.42 earned run average. In four road starts his ERA is 13.50. It's not just a short season small sample size thing. For his career McCullers has 44 home starts, ERA 2.51. 45 road starts (plus three relief appearances), ERA 5.22. It's not as if MMP is a great pitchers' park.

Timing is running out for the Rockets

The Rockets turned out to be irrelevant as real NBA championship contenders go. The Lakers are excellent so there is no shame in losing to them, but the Rockets getting destroyed in the fourth quarter of two games and then not even being competitive in the closeout game made a complete mockery of General Manager Daryl Morey's "we should win this thing" claim. With one of the oldest starting lineups in the NBA the Rockets' future is perilous. Head Coach Mike D'Antoni opting to not be part of it in telling the organization goodbye without even waiting on a new contract offer. If for the third consecutive offseason the Rockets make personnel moves on the cheap, they are not to be taken seriously as a title threat in 2020-21.

The Denver Nuggets should give the Lakers a better series than did the Rockets. That in and of itself isn't saying much, but the Nuggets are younger, deeper, and more versatile than the Rockets.

Last season Kyle Lowry played stellar point guard in helping the Toronto Raptors win the NBA championship. This season Goran Dragic is playing stellar point guard in helping the Miami Heat to within two wins of playing for the NBA championship. Once upon a time the Rockets had Lowry and Dragic on their roster at the same time. The Rockets are at 25 seasons and counting since last playing in the NBA Finals.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Maybe a postseason revival is to come, but Jose Altuve has never so regularly looked so messed up at the plate. His batting average down to .216, Altuve has been by far the worst Astro regular in 2020.

2. Other than at the Masters it looks like it will be a major surprise (and event) if Tiger Woods seriously contends to win another major.

3. Best doodles: Bronze-Yankee Silver-Snicker Gold-Golden

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