Here's why it won't take long to judge the 2020 Texans

Composite photo by Jack Brame

The NFL released its 2020 regular season schedule Thursday night hoping it plays out as actual and not hypothetical. The Houston Texans have an opportunity to send the rest of the league a warning shot of their ascendancy toward greatness! They also stand a chance of getting buried early. Returning to the scene of the crime, or more accurately their humiliation, the Texans are slated to play their first game that counts at the site of their last game that counted. This time a trip to Arrowhead Stadium means a visit to the home of the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. That means a probable 0-1 Texans start. They open as early 10 or 10 1/2 point underdogs. If they are 0-1, the Texans will probably sag to 0-2 as the home opener in week two has the Baltimore Ravens visiting NRG Stadium. On the other hand, if somehow they start 2-0…

0-2 is obviously more likely than 2-0. At least it gets easier for the Texans from there. Easier does not mean easy. Week three, at Pittsburgh. Yoy! Week four, home vs. the Vikings. The first game that on paper is a definitely should win game for the Texans is week five vs. the Jaguars. That's followed by a trip to Tennessee then a home game vs. the Packers. Man. That's five 2019 playoff teams among the first seven opponents, plus the Steelers in Pittsburgh. After those opening seven games if I somehow could guarantee you the Texans will either be 6-1 or 1-6, which way do you go? Thought so.

Zero Sunday or Monday night games on the Texans' initial schedule. Flex scheduling could alter that. The season finale for instance if, say, the Texans' home game vs. the Titans is to decide the AFC South.

The Texans' zero prime-time games after the opener at K.C. are five fewer than Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have. had its 32 team beat writers make a regular season record guess for the team he or she covers. 21 of 32 predict winning records, two guessed 8-8, just nine forecast losing seasons. I guess collectively that makes them homers.

Jose Altuve turned 30 this week. He has 1568 big league hits. When Pete Rose turned 30 he had 1540 hits. Altuve has no chance at making a run at Rose's Major League Baseball record hit total of 4256. When Craig Biggio turned 30 he had 1105 hits. He finished with 3060. In the four seasons after he turned 30 Biggio missed a total of four games. Altuve starts his thirties by losing out on dozens more. At 188 hits per season (his average over his eight full seasons as a big leaguer) Altuve needs more than seven and a half seasons to reach 3000 hits. Biggio ranks 25th on MLB's career hits leaderboard. Altuve is tied for 570th.

50 years ago Friday featured one of the most famous games in NBA history. May 7, 1970, game Seven of the Finals, the New York Knicks won their first title by beating the Lakers in what is pretty much known as the "Willis Reed Game." The Knicks center and captain tore a thigh muscle early in game five which the Knicks managed to win anyway. With no Reed in game 6 Wilt Chamberlain went for 45 points and 27 rebounds as the Lakers rolled 135-113. To the surprise of most, Reed hobbled down the tunnel to take the court for warmups before game seven, as the crowd at Madison Square Garden went berserk. Reed hit two jumpers for the Knicks' first two field goals, and the game was basically over. Reed didn't score again, finishing with four points and three rebounds in 27 minutes but the Knicks just destroyed the Lakers, leading 94-69 after three quarters before ultimately winning 113-99. It's known as the "Willis Reed Game" but really should be known as the "Walt Frazier Game." The Knicks' point guard went off for a ridiculous 36 points and 19 assists, arguably the greatest game seven performance in NBA history.

I've known Joel Blank for 25 years. Despite that, I think we'll have some fun as this Monday we start doing a show together weekdays 11-1 on ESPN 97.5. Joel will adapt to my sarcasm. I will adapt to his Green Bay Packer fixation. Producer Nick Sharara will serve as referee when needed. The show will be called The Press Box. Had to be called something I guess.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Happy Mother's Day to all moms Sunday. Especially mine! 2. Next week takes us into the third month of basically no sports. Longest three years of my life. 3. Best synonyms for boredom: Bronze-torpor Silver-languor Gold-ennui

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ESPN Houston's The Wheelhouse share their thoughts on the Texans' hire of DeMeco Ryans as head coach.

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