4th and a Mile with Paul Muth

Divisional Round headaches, and World Power Rankings of the Week

Houston's luck has routinely sputtered in the divisional round.

Houston's luck has routinely sputtered in the divisional round.

So the Houston Texans made it to the second round of the playoffs again. Pretty exciting stuff, as long as you don't factor any history into it.

If you're like me, you can't help but peer ahead to the weekend ahead without at least one eyebrow raised in anxiety.

Vegas be damned, I'm not even talking about the odds. A team with a QB like Deshaun Watson always has a chance, even when they don't. My concern lies beyond the football field.

The week before New Years I found myself thinking back to where I had spent every New Years Eve for the past decade. It started out fascinating, with locations all over the country and world, but has since been reduced to house parties and ball drops at bars. It's not where but with whom though, right?

So when Deshaun Watson did his best Nightcrawler impression in overtime to set up a first round-advancing field goal, I found myself repeating the same exercise.

Where was I during the Texans' previous divisional games?

JANUARY 14TH, 2017, Texans versus Patriots. WEST ALABAMA ICEHOUSE

I remember filling about three picnic tables up with friends, and my belly full of some of the best tacos in Houston as we all watched Tom Brady dismantle the great Brock Osweiler in a 34-16 slaughter at one of the most iconic watering holes in Houston. As the Patriots rubbed the Texans' face in the dirt, that one friend we all have that runs about a 50/50 shot of ruining the night when they show up...showed up. He arrived in a suit to the ICE HOUSE, asked why there was no liquor at the ICE HOUSE, and threw a tantrum when his sister decided not to go out on the town with him later that night. So I got to watch that unfold, and my distraction was Osweiler throwing a football. Neat.

JANUARY 13TH, 2013, Texans versus Patriots. CABO JOE'S, EL PASO

Memories of my dark days in El Paso have been mostly repressed, and luckily this 41-28 atrocity of a game was one of those same moments. I don't remember too much from New England's first playoff opportunity they had to remind us that we didn't belong at the adult table, but I did some digging and found some Facebook commentary from a much more invested, youthful Paul that I suppose summed it up:

Before the game: "Texans vs. Patriots today. Translation: if a meteor were scheduled to hit El Paso today, I wouldn't use the fallout shelter if it wasn't showing the game." How committed!

After the game: "Love my Texans. Always will. But [EXPLETIVE] you for quitting today. That last drive showed zero heart." How passionate!

January 15, 2012. Texans versus Ravens. ANGELFIRE SKI RESORT

Now this...this was the one that got this entire thought project rolling.

It was 2012 and even younger Paul was in love. Or something. In a genius move, the young soldier left Fort Bliss without a mileage pass authorization to go skiing during the four-day weekend with the supposed lady of his dreams. So they drove to Ruidoso, New Mexico to ski. And then they grew bold, and drove to Santa Fe to ski. And then they thought, "We're basically at Taos, let's go to Angelfire!"

So for no sane or logical reason whatsoever, we traveled to Angelfire Ski Resort--roughly 200 miles beyond the 250 mile limit soldiers were allowed to travel on a four-day weekend without command approval--and skied most of the day. About midway through the day I thoroughly abandoned lady of my dreams on the slopes while she continued skiing in my Mario Williams jersey. The Texans were about to kick off their first divisional round playoff game, and I was going to be there to watch it...even if it was from a bar in a lodge in northern New Mexico.

Baby J.J. Watt did his best that game, racking up 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks, but backup QB T.J. Yates was unable to hold up his end of the bargain. The Texans would lose, and I would go back to coming up with even more dumb ideas:

"What if we went all the way to Colorado?!"

We did, and then we got snowed in. We showed up a day late as a result and the United States Military offered little in the way of mercy. Have you ever swept sand off of sidewalks in the desert for 45-days straight? Asking for a friend.

World Power Rankings of the Week

#5 Dudes writing Tom Brady G.O.A.T. Posts

I'm talking about the ones where they directly address TB12 in posts as if they're directly texting him a pep talk after the loss. He needed that pick-me-up bros, way to go.

#4 Doomsday Preppers

Everyone thought you were crazy, but with what I'm sure you and Reddit both believe is the impending World War 3, the "Told ya so!" deck is truly stacked in your favor this week. So go double check the expiration date on the Vienna Sausages in your panic room, and when you get back, come get one of these crisp high fives I have waiting for you.

#3 The 2018 Boston Red Sox

Reports are coming out that apparently they allegedly cheated, and that gets you on the board since it takes at least some of the heat off of the Astros for a moment.

#2 A full week of Ed Orgeron Sound Bites

This man is a national treasure and needs to be protected accordingly.

#1 Exhibitionism for a cause

Australia is currently experiencing a once-in-a-generation bushfire that has devastated nearly 15 million acres. The tragedy has sparked a worldwide response in the form of volunteering and donations. Now while many celebrities have used their influence to garner awareness for the cause, a young woman in California named Kaylen Ward took a different route.

Ward's deal is simple: ""Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated"

The tweet has been shared over 88,000 times and according to Rolling Stone has raised nearly $500,000 in two days.


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Kiper has the Texans bolstering their defense in Round 2. Composite Getty, Wiki Commons image.

In Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest two-round mock, he provided insights into potential draft picks and areas of concern for the Texans as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Texans currently have two picks in the second round.

When considering the Texans' needs, he selected Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton with the No. 42 overall pick and Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil with the No. 59 pick.

Kiper praised Newton for his exceptional performance as a defensive tackle, noting his impressive 7.5 sacks last season, the most among FBS defensive tackles.

With the departure of Maliek Collins, Newton could fill a crucial void in the Texans' defensive line, providing much-needed pass-rushing ability from the interior.

Another prospect Kiper identified as a potential target for the Texans is Michigan slot cover corner Mike Sainristil.

Kiper hailed Sainristil as the best slot cover corner in the draft, citing his impressive statistics from the previous season, including 6 interceptions, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. With the Texans' re-signing of veteran corner Desmond King, there is still uncertainty about King's role on the roster, according to Kiper, opening the door for Sainristil to make an impact.

Despite his relatively smaller stature at 5-foot-9, Sainristil's playmaking ability and versatility make him an attractive option for the Texans' secondary. Draft expert Lance Zierlein thinks Sainristil would be a good fit in Houston.

As the draft approaches, all eyes will be on the Texans' front office as they make critical decisions that will shape the future of the franchise.

*AI assisted.

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