Can Hilton get the Texans again and can the Colts slow down Hopkins?

Hilton, Desir's health big keys in game with Colts

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The Friday Stoots Six-Pack is here for you. Crack it open.

Watson learning from Verlander

Among the things in this amazing Deshaun Watson article is his relationship with Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander.

QB1 taking plenty of cues from SP1.

They eat dinner and watch film together and Watson has tried to learn from Verlander's calm.

Watson's demeanor is evident. The joy is short. The failure even shorter on his memory. He might be getting ready for the Colts but he will be watching his buddy try to close out the Yankees for sure.

Red zone resurgence

Last year the Texans ranked 29th in the NFL with about 50 percent of their red zone looks going for touchdowns. This year the Texans are the best in football with almost 72 percent of red zone possessions going for six.

This. Is. Incredible. Huge credit to Bill O'Brien and Deshaun Watson for getting on the same page.

Not only is it better, it looks EASY sometimes. They are really in a groove.

Oh, and by the way, Colts offense is smack dab in the middle in the same stat. Their defense? 30th in the NFL. It is a GREAT matchup for the Texans this week. Just have to get into the red zone.

Hopkins stopper out of commission?

Pierre Desir didn't practice on Thursday. His status for Sunday is up in the air with a hamstring injury.

Last year in three games with the Colts against the Texans Desir allowed six catches on 12 targets for 99 yards. He intercepted the above ball and added two pass breakups. Now, it is worth noting Hopkins was banged up in the second and third showdown. Now, it seems Desir is hurt.

If he cant go, along with fellow secondary member Kenny Moore and pass rusher Justin Houston, the Colts might be in trouble from a talent standpoint in slowing down the Texans passing attack.

Halloween Hilton is as scary as can be

Eugene Marquis "T. Y." Hilton has been an absolute terror for the Texans to cover in his career. Now, lets point out a lot of this was with Andrew Luck tossing him the ball.

In 2017 Jacoby Brissett was the quarterback throwing him the ball. One of the best games, the 5-175-2 game, was with Brissett tossing him the ball.

Regardless, he's a monster. He can change the game. He has had great games with Johnathan Joseph guarding him and it would seem if Bradley Roby can't go it would be Joseph on Hilton again.

Hilton could be a big key if the Colts get the ground game going too. If Marlon Mack is forcing the defense to creep up, it will be much easier for Hilton to creep up. If the front seven can slow Mack without safety help, that leaves a little more help for Hilton.

Last stand for the right leg?

Ka'imi Fairbairn hasn't been solid this season. He needs to be better. There has been a lot of speculation new holder Bryan Anger has been part of the issue. It is worth noting a penalty wiped out a earlier Fairbairn miss in the Saints game in the first week of the season.

I spoke with former NFL kicker Nick "Nick the Kick" Lowery this week. He didn't seem to think the conversation around the laces was that important to the situation.

"That's overrated," he said. "It does help to not kick the laces, but it's not a reason to miss. If it's a long field goal, it might take a little bit of distance off. It really doesn't take accuracy off if you keep your form."

That's just one kicker but it is interesting the more you read the less the laces feel in the level of importance. Not that it isn't important, but the less and less they are important.

Just watch this

Awesome. I knew some of things already but a great telling of an amazing story and where Hopkins comes from.

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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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