Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cowboys & Texans

Good morning everyone.  I hope that you like the new addition to 'Bikini Hill' - I found the Live Traffic Feed from Feedjit since I made my last post on Tuesday, and I was able to add it at the right price - FREE.  ;)  As you can see, the feed allows you to see where the last 10 visitors to my blog are located, and it shows when they stopped by to visit.  Thank you Feedjit - I think that your addition to 'Bikini Hill' will be well received.  For those of you who read the title to today's entry and are under the impression that I am going to educate you about the 'Old West' and the history of the Lone Star State, ummm, not quite...  :)  However, if you're interested in reading about the two NFL franchises who call Texas their home, and what their prospects are for the rest of this season, then you're in the right place.  I have my fantasy football magazine out, complete with remaining schedules, and I am ready to type...

I'll give the credit to my facebook account for being the inspiration for today's blog entry.  Very early in the season, when Dallas quarterback Tony Romo went down with his rib injury, and consequently has played games with special protection for his ribs, some Houston Texans fans were very happy to needle Cowboys fans about Romo's misfortune.  Heading into last week, the Cowboys had played .500 ball for the season, with a record of 4-4, giving them no chance to make the playoffs in a division with the vaunted Philadelphia Eagles and the NFC East-leading New York Giants, right?  We'll get back to that in a minute.  When it was announced early this week that Matt Schaub will apparently be out for the remainder of the season after suffering a foot injury during Sunday's victory against Tampa Bay, I noticed that more than one Cowboys fan was posting on facebook, with statuses that basically said, "Do you Texans fans remember when you gave us a hard time about Romo getting injured?....  BA HA HA..."  It seems that year after year, this rivalry between the Cowboys and Texans has been getting stirred up more and more.  The Cowboys have 'Jerryworld' and a long history filled with Super Bowl appearances and Lombardi Trophies to go with their moniker of being 'America's Team.'  The Houston Texans have yet to make a playoff appearance, and even going back to the Houston Oilers, the city of Houston has not had a team reach the Super Bowl.  If these two franchises ever do reach the Super Bowl in the same season, I just hope that I am around to see it...  :)  Today we will look at what these teams face down the stretch in their hunt for a playoff spot.

In addition to the facebook chatter about Schaub last weekend, my inspiration for writing about this topic today was the Cowboys victory last week, combined with the losses of the Eagles and the Giants.  The Cowboys, who have had to overcome injuries to Romo, Miles Austin, and Felix Jones (among others), are now sitting at 5-4, just ONE GAME out of first place in the NFC East.  The Giants are in first place with a 6-3 record, while the Eagles and the Washington Redskins are sharing the division's cellar with records of 3-6.  The Eagles not only lost to the Arizona Cardinals and their backup quarterback John Skelton last week, but Michael Vick was also injured during that game.  Dallas is also only one game out of a wildcard spot behind the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears.  Down the stretch, Dallas has the following schedule:  @ Washington, vs. Miami, @ Arizona, vs. Giants, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Philadelphia, and @ Giants.  The Giants (I know you're wondering) have this schedule remaining:  vs. Philadelphia, @ New Orleans, vs. Green Bay, @ Dallas, vs. Washington, @ Jets, and  vs. Dallas.  It's obvious that the two games with the Giants are going to be huge for the Cowboys, but when you look at the games that the teams don't have in common, I'd much rather face Miami, Arizona, and Tampa Bay than facing the Giants group of  New Orleans, Green Bay, and the Jets.  Considering this and the fact that the Lions are still without Jahvid Best and have to face the Packers twice, in addition to remaining games with the Saints, Raiders, and the Chargers, I like the Cowboys chances of reaching the playoffs at this point.

Before the season started, I picked the Houston Texans to reach the playoffs for the first time ever, and I predicted that they would do this by winning the AFC South.  The Texans have started 7-3, which I think is admirable considering that they have had to deal with injuries to Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and a season-ending injury to Mario Williams (among others).  They are two games ahead of the Tennessee Titans, and won the first meeting between the teams this year.  And now Schaub appears to be out for the season, leaving Matt Leinart at the controls...  I have personally never been a Leinart fan, attributing most of his success at USC to the players that surronded him.  His stint with the Arizona Cardinals after coming into the league as a 10th overall pick seemed to justify my convictions.  Now Leinart will get a second chance to prove himself.  I think there is hope that Leinart won't blow the division title for the Texans.  The first thing that Houston has in its favor is that Schaub's injury occurred going into the bye week, giving Leinart two full weeks a reps before taking over the team.  The second plus for the Texans is that Johnson is expected to return to the lineup after the bye week.  The third thing in Houston's favor is their remaining schedule compared to that of the Titans.  The Texans remaining schedule is as follows:  @ Jacksonville, vs. Atlanta, @ Cincinnati, vs. Carolina, @ Indianapolis, vs. Tennessee.  The Titans close out with this schedule:  @ Atlanta, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Buffalo, vs. New Orleans, @ Indianapolis, vs. Jacksonville, @ Houston.  I think that the Texans will run into a lot of defenders in the box to stop Foster with Leinart at the helm, but barring any more serious injuries, I believe that the Texans will hold off the Titans to win the division.  The other wildcard in this equation would be Chris Johnson suddenly finding his legs and carrying the Titans on his back, but barring that, I like Houston.

If nothing else, I hope that today's entry at least has you looking forward to the home-stretch of the season.  I will be back here tomorrow with my weekly college and pro football picks.  I hope that you have a great day, and thanks again for stopping by.

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