The Pallilog

Postseason advantage goes to Cowboys over Texans

Jason Garret and the Cowboys are a game away from the NFC title game. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Since the Texans entered the NFL, they have produced the less than grand total of three playoff wins.

Since the Texans entered the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys have produced three playoff wins.

Advantage Cowboys, for the moment at least. While the Texans this weekend perhaps dream about receiving their AFC South championship rings, the Cowboys dream of upsetting the Rams Saturday in Los Angeles and reaching their first NFC Championship game since the 1995 season. Of course the Cowboys have a chance (they're seven point underdogs).

Stats can be more deceiving in the NFL than in the other major sports because teams only play 16 games. But…the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott was the NFL's leading rusher this season. Nothing deceiving about that, Elliott is outstanding. One guess as to which team ranked dead last in the NFL this season in yards allowed per carry. Kind of a leading question, so right you are! The Rams allowed 5.1 yards per carry.

Here's the stats can be deceiving part. In going 13-3, the Rams were ahead, a lot. When facing teams trying to come from behind against you, your defense is concerned even more than usual with defending the pass and preventing big plays. That can make a defense susceptible to some runs. To what extent that impacted the Rams stats? I haven't done a deep dive on that. But you know Elliott is going to be fed the ball a lot Saturday.

The Rams are rightful favorites, as are the Saints over the Eagles. But I put it at about 40% that next week at least one NFC East team is playing for a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

With most Texans thinking: How 'Bout NOT Them Cowboys.

Mediocre, thy name is Texans

In the Texans 17 seasons, they still have yet to legitimately contend for a significant title. Winning a four team Division five times in eight years is nice little achievement, though anyone proudly wearing a 2018 AFC South champion shirt these days: Weak!

Recovering from an 0-3 start to make the playoffs isn't a throwaway, but twice within a month the Colts slapped the Texans at NRG Stadium. In the end that defines the Texans' season more so than does an 11-5 record built largely off of a marshmallow schedule.

Hubbed by Deshaun Watson, who picked a lousy time for a lousy game throwing the ball, the Texans are in a good position going forward. It's not as if their offensive line can get worse. The o-line and the secondary need major work this offseason. But as opposed to last year, the Texans are equipped with their first round draft choice, and two second rounders, and are among the top 10 teams in salary cap space. Big problem: the Colts also have a one and two twos, and they are number one in cap space.

Texans' General Manager Brian Gaine better nail it over these next several months, or the Texans could face another era of mostly breathing Indy exhaust fumes.

Beard vs. the Freak

James Harden's run of 14 consecutive 30+ point games as been phenomenally impressive. NBA rules and style of play are different, but this James Harden is the best offensive player in Rockets' history, in what really is now an easy call over Hakeem Olajuwon (Moses Malone third). OK, best regular season offensive player in Rockets history.

Harden is right back in the thick of the Most Valuable Player award race. That Harden is definitely again the NBA MVP, no way, as Giannis Antetokounmpo forcefully demonstrated Wednesday night in his Bucks' win at Toyota Center. But if Harden gets it again, check the membership list of the club he'd join as a back-to-back MVP winner: Russell, Chamberlain, Kareem, Moses, Larry, Magic, Michael, Duncan, Nash, LeBron, Curry.

Antetokounmpo turned 24 years old just last month. The "Greek Freak" has carried the Bucks into the weekend with the NBA's best record (29-11). The guy still has no outside shot, sub-wretched 16 percent 3-point shooting this season, but he's still nearly as unguardable as Harden at 26.6 points per game on 58% field goal shooting. He's also averaging almost 13 rebounds per game, and six assists per. And is a versatile defensive force.

Spring fling

Just over a month to the Astros opening the doors at Spring Training. Caesar's this week posted the first bettable over/under 2019 win total numbers. The Astros have the highest number in MLB at 97 ½, 14 higher than second in the AL West (Angels). Last season the 103 win Stros cruised over their number which was 96 ½.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers have started in the same game seven times. The Patriots are 7-0. 2. The Chiefs this week hit the 25th anniversary of their last home playoff win. 0-6 since. 3. Top 3 picks in a draft of all current NBA players: Bronze-Joel Embiid Silver-Anthony Davis Gold-Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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