The Tension Mounts
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On with the Bodycount….
I can’t take ownership for that little nugget, in fact for those of you that recognize those lyrics, kudos to your knowledge of the original and greatest rap-rock group of all time – Ice T and Body count…..
It’s appropriate after the weekend that was in the NFL – which never disappoints and a real GAME hasn’t even been played yet. But over the weekend, we learned that two of the Texans biggest rivals for AFC supremacy this season, the Ravens and Broncos, both lost key starters for the entire 2013 campaign.
The Ravens learned on Saturday that starting TE and one of their newly minted $120 Million dollar man Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, Dennis Pitta, basically broke his hip and is out for the season. Less than 24 hours later, NFL.com reported that Broncos starting center Dan Koppen tore his ACL and is out for the year. Meanwhile Von Miller is popping Adderall while blowing the finest trees the Mile High City has to offer.
Okay, so I made up the last part. But it would be a lot cooler if he was.
Point is, Matthew McConaughey is underrated as an actor and the pressure on the Texans continues to increase and we haven’t even arrived at the first preseason game yet. That’s Aug. 9th for those of you scoring at home.
Without going into full-blown detail, the top teams in the AFC as identified by damn near every NFL type that Ted and I have spoken to over the past month or so have listed the Texans, Patriots, Broncos and Ravens as the class of the conference. Not everybody is equally sold on the Ravens given they’ve lost more starters – nine – than any other defending Super Bowl team in recent memory. I thought before the Pitta injury that the Ravens would be a team to reckon with and even with Pitta gone, this team should still be formidable. I’m not sold on their wideouts though and anybody who thinks Jacoby Jones will solve their problems at the #2 spot is probably blowing trees as they read this.
In case you’ve been in witness protection or are new to this NFL thing, you’re aware the New England Patriots have had a very un-Patriot like offseason with player attrition, Gronk being Gronk being PUP, and then that whole Aaron Hernandez getting arrested for allegedly killing Odin Lloyd. Oh, and they signed Tim Tebow…! Other than that, everything is the same in Foxborough.
Then there’s the Broncos. Von Miller may or may not be still in finals mode from college with his alleged appetite for adderall and chronic – they balance each other out well ya know – from what I’ve read on the Internet of course – and he’s looking at missing the first four games of the regular season. There’s no Dumervil and now it’s up to Shaun Phillips to provide some kind of pass rush the first four games. Good luck with that. That didn’t seem all that big a deal though when you consider the Madden-like offense this team has thanks to adding to Wes Welker to the slot. As my partner in crime Ted Johnson has said, the Welker-Manning combo couldn’t have happened any better for either player. Add Demaryius Thomas on one side, Eric Decker on the other and the four thousand tight ends the team has, and this offense may score 40 a game if John Fox doesn’t screw things up. However that’s always a possibility with Fox calling the shots. Throw in Koppen getting hurt for the year, and now one of the best centers in the league is out so there will be some liability on the Bronco offensive line responsible for keeping the oh-so nimble 37-year-old Peyton Manning upright.
Which brings us full circle back to YOUR Houston Texans.
As of this writing, I see where Whitney Mercilus strained his hamstring, so that’s no bueno, but it sure beats tearing an ACL. Then there’s Daryl Sharpton who’s hurt, but if you didn’t see that coming, you’re blowing trees.
There’s always the caveat of staying healthy, especially in the NFL, and we all know the Texans have been hit hard by the injury bug the last two seasons when it comes to losing major contributors - Schaub in ’11 and Cushing last year.
The Texans are in ‘prove it’ mode to the rest of the NFL and media types across the country. And I have no problem with that. If a team with a 24-10 record and two division crowns can stay under the radar, then by all means, take that title and run with it. But with each of the AFC heavyweights taking hits before the season starts, suddenly everyone will start pulling a 2Pac and All Eyes Will Be on the Texans because with the talent this team has on both sides of the ball, we all know that 2013 could be special. However the wilting of opponents means the pressure on the Texans will ratchet up again and who knows, maybe we’ll start feeling 2012 expectations all over again.