THE PALLILOG

Here's what has to happen for the Texans to make the playoffs

It's not over until it's over. Photo by Getty Images.

Texans' playoff hopes live! Snowballs in hell have better survival rates, but purely mathematically: if the Texans win their remaining four games while the Colts and Titans both lose their remaining four, by virtue of having the best divisional record the Texans would be 8-8 AFC South Champs. We're better off buying Powerball tickets.

After Sunday's very creative way to blow a win over the Colts, it is very difficult to ratchet up much interest in their game at Chicago. The Texans are small road favorites over the Bears who six games ago were growling along at 5-1. They are now 5-7. Until they win another Super Bowl the Bears will never live down trading up to take quarterback Mitchell Trubisky second overall in the 2017 Draft. Patrick Mahomes went eight spots later to the Chiefs, Deshaun Watson to the Texans two spots after Mahomes. Oops!

Quick: name the starting quarterback with the most regular season wins to his name in Bears' history. The franchise is in its 101st season.

Would you believe Jay Cutler with 51? Jim McMahon is second with 46. 46 wins is Matt Schaub's Texans record win total. Sid Luckman is the Bears' head and shoulders greatest ever QB, but Pro Football Reference does not credit him with his QB wins, and has him with only 61 QB starts among his 128 games played. May be a limited passing attempts thing early in his career, or just an error. Like my error not initially explaining this.

Not so quick: Only one team's winningest QB has fewer wins than Schaub's 46. Name him.

Hint: Buccaneers

Last Hint: He won a Super Bowl.

Answer: Trent Dilfer with 38.

Astros not so hot stove

A quiet start to baseball's virtual winter meetings. Credit to Astros' General Manager James Click for not running crappola up the flagpole when asked about Carlos Correa trade rumors. While of course not directly acknowledging Correa talks, Click talked about needing to plan for more than just 2021. Of course the Astros should listen to Correa offers as he enters his final season before free agency. The Indians are shopping the more accomplished Francisco Lindor as he approaches his walk year. The Astros have much deeper pockets than do the Indians.

With George Springer highly likely a goner and Michael Brantley quite possibly following him out the door, Click's top priority has to be adding a legitimate regular MLB outfielder. Or two. With Yordan Alvarez's knees seeming more those of a 43-year-old than a 23-year-old the Astros would be down to Kyle Tucker, with no quality prospects near the horizon. They have been linked to Jackie Bradley Jr. who is likely departing the Red Sox. Bradley is a better centerfielder than Springer, but would be a huge drop off offensively.

Rocket launch

The Rockets open their preseason Friday night in Chicago. Their traveling circus, errrrr party, is without James Harden as he goes through extended COVID protocols following his irresponsible behavior ahead of the start of practices. A Rockets-Harden divorce seems inevitable, but the Rockets need not capitulate (yet anyway) to Harden's desire to deal him to Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee or wherever else he may deem desirable. I wonder if Harden gets that despite his offensive brilliance suitors are not banging down the Rockets' door. It's not a knock on Harden's historically prolific scoring skills, but on the unique style he was given run of the house to play here that would not cut it in many other places.

If I were the Rockets, I would tell Harden to bring us a reasonable trade. James might be insulted by the number of teams that would have little or no interest, or by what they would deem he's worth giving up to acquire. In the end Harden would be fine with the Rockets taking a sack of nothing to get where he wants. Not how it's going to work.

Bowl season?

What a joke for LSU to "punish" itself by declaring itself ineligible for a bowl game this season as the NCAA investigates rules violations within the Tiger program. The 2019 National Champions stink this year! They are 3-5 ahead of likely loss number six at Florida Saturday. All schools are bowl eligible this year regardless of record. That does not make LSU bowing out honorable.

Other than the Rose and Sugar Bowls which are the playoff semifinal games this season, why should any bowl games be played? Programming for ESPN is the biggest reason. Not a compelling reason. Bowl trips are supposed to reward teams for good seasons. That's been routinely laughable for years with plenty of 6-6 and 7-5 teams, and teams with losing conference records "earning" bowl trips. I'm okay with mediocre teams getting bowl experiences for all the time they put in, but what kind of bowl experiences will players get this year? The big group festivities and outings ahead of games can't be responsibly held. Limited numbers of fans will be allowed into stadia where any are allowed. 11 bowl games have already been canceled.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Quite a Sports Illustrated extended piece on Jack Easterby this week. You can find it at www.si.com

2. U.S. COVID deaths per day are now topping the death toll of the 9/11 attacks.

3. Worst Super Bowl winning quarterbacks: Bronze-Brad Johnson Silver-Nick Foles Gold-Dilfer

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