The Houston Texans are limping toward the postseason and Gary Kubiak's job should be hanging in the balance.
A first-round exit would signal little development from year to year and prove that Kubiak is not able to lead this team to the Super Bowl.
It would have been hard to believe this just a few weeks ago. Houston was 11-1 and appeared to be a lock for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. However, losing three out of four games has showcased clear deficiencies in the Texans, especially on defense.
Houston has allowed at least 23 points in six of its last seven games. Once considered the best team in the AFC, the Texans are a struggling squad still reeling from a 42-14 Monday Night Football embarrassment at the hands of the New England Patriots in Week 14.
How could Kubiak keep his job if the Texans go one and done in the postseason?
He has just one playoff win in his seven-year history with the team. Granted, some of those early teams were lacking much talent, but that does not excuse the fact that Houston has been mediocre for most of his tenure.
Now, with one of the most talented offenses in the league and the probable Defensive Player of the Year in J.J. Watt, Kubiak simply can't afford to fail in the postseason.
Other prospective coaches would bend over backward to be at the helm of the Texans. They have a young roster with talent in key areas and a great fanbase.
Still, Kubiak is in a tremendous position. All can quickly be forgotten with a good showing under the season's brightest lights. Houston's only signature win this season came in Week 3 against a Denver Broncos team that had not yet found an identity.
Playoff wins define legacies and Kubiak has a legitimate chance at establishing one. If he can show that he is capable of leading Houston to playoff wins, he can continue his lengthy rein as head coach.
Houston is a team that has grown tremendously since becoming a franchise. First a winning record was enough, then a playoff berth, but now playoff wins are required.
Kubiak needs to get some of those this season or else face unemployment.