About now you're probably inundated with all sorts of "Best of the Decade" articles.
You know, stuff like "10 Best Thursday Night Arena League Games" and "10 Best Tuesday Afternoon Kansas City Royals Games Started by a Guy Named Roy."
Well, most of those lists have one thing in common: They try to paint a pretty picture of the decade as if most of it didn't suck.
This is not one of those articles.
Because let's be honest—if you're a Texans fan, the past decade did suck.
But rest assured, loyal Houston fans, there is hope. This is the holiday season after all.
Instead of focusing on the 10 least crappy moments of the last 10 years, let's look forward and make 10 fearless Houston Texans-related predictions for the next decade.
Let me preface this by saying that I believe Mario to be one of the best defensive ends in football.
But there are a few things preventing him from walking among the truly elite.
First, he has this unhealthy obsession with the outside speed rush. Yes, it's a good move, but sometimes he gets a bit predictable.
Second, Mario can sometimes get frustrated. I'm not saying he takes plays off or drops his effort level, but you can tell a difference between when Mario is playing hard and when he knows he's unblockable.
In the next decade, Mario will learn to overcome these obstacles and become one of the best defensive players of the next 10 years.
Let's not forget, he's only 24. His prime should last well into the teens.
While I've become a Bernard Pollard fan, as a result of his aggression and passion that has been lacking in our secondary for a while, he's not the answer I'm referring to.
The NFL has become a league where secondaries are defined not so much by shutdown cornerbacks, but more by ball-hawking safeties.
This is probably due to the fact that the rules heavily favor the offense, and outside of Nnamdi Asomugha there may not actually be any true shutdown corners.
Also, offenses have become so complex that teams can avoid such a corner and still be effective.
Therefore, I predict that the Texans will realize that there is actually no rule preventing them from drafting a safety in the first three rounds.
It may just happen this year with a number of first round-worthy safeties coming out, but if this prophesy is to come true, the pick must happen in the next three or four years.
You may say that this isn't a Texans prediction, but nothing would ruin the Texans' future more than the destruction of civilization as we know it.
The ancient Mayan myths suggest that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012.
The earth is constantly wobbling on its axis in a cyclical nature called precession. It takes 5,125 years to complete a cycle, and according to Mayan calculations, the cycle should be complete on Dec. 21, 2012.
The Mayan prophesy said that as of 1999, we would have 13 years to realize enlightenment and veer from our self-destructive path.
It's probably safe to say that won't happen, especially if Bud Adams is still running a team, but I'm pretty sure the world won't end.
In fact, I'm willing to put 50 bucks on it.
I'm still an Amobi Okoye fan, but he's not a nose tackle.
Nor is Shawn Cody, Travis Johnson, or Tim Bullman.
For some reason, the Texans have historically ignored this important position and insisted on filling it with quicker, lighter defensive tackles more suited for the under tackle position.
This is a mistake that many teams make, but if you notice something about the truly great defensive lines, they generally have a big, mean nose tackle who doesn't necessarily pick up crazy stats but is a crucial part of the defense.
These guys are tough to find, and unfortunately, I predict that the Texans don't find their man in the next decade.
In the '20s, though, other teams better watch out.
Look, I'm not saying that I have any dirt on Cushing, but most teams at some point have some controversy, and we'd be foolish to assume that the Texans will somehow be immune.
There are a few elements necessary for a good scandal.
First, the player must be famous enough for you to care. Second, there must be some surprise factor. Third, in hindsight, you kind of feel like you should have seen it coming.
I'm picking Cushing for a few reasons.
First, you pretty much have to rule out most linemen. They're not famous enough and generally don't have the physique required for such scandals (obviously, there are exceptions).
Offensively, it pretty much has to be a wide receiver, running back, or quarterback.
Andre Johnson would never let that happen amongst the WR corps, here's a decent chance we don't have a "scandal worthy" running back for a while, and Matt Schaub is really kind of bland.
On defense, while defensive backs are an option, I'm still leaning toward Cushing here.
He's a SoCal guy, on his way to stardom, kind of crazy, and just ugly enough to have that "how the hell did he pull that girl" aspect to it.
The NFL is king of North American sports in no small part because it has enjoyed labor peace for decades, meaning it has been all about the football.
The other thing that helps is the parity, which means fans of almost all teams can go into each season feeling they have a chance to win.
That's in danger of collapsing.
The writing has actually been on the wall for quite some time.
During creation of the current collective bargaining agreement, the owners and players had a much more contentious negotiation.
As a result, the owners were unhappy with the result and opted out in 2008.
Now we're facing labor uncertainty and are almost certain to have an uncapped year next season.
Players have said that they will not accept a new salary cap if that happens.
It seems like the two sides just continue to grow further and further apart, so I predict a stoppage at some point in the next 10 years.
No, I don't like it either.
There's a good chance the NFL will no longer have a salary cap after next season and for the subsequent decade.
Fortunately, Bob McNair is one of the NFL's richest owners, and the Texans' annual revenue ranks amongst the league's highest.
Let us all hope and pray that the NFL doesn't become Major League Baseball.
My bet is that the NFL maintains its revenue sharing by way of a soft cap and some sort of luxury tax—kind of like the NBA.
In that scenario, the Texans would be in good shape, as McNair has historically shown a willingness and desire to put a winning product on the field.
I don't like the direction this thing is moving, but at least the Texans are in position to take advantage.
All right, I admit this isn't much of a stretch, as there's really only one option on the current roster—Steve Slaton.
My knock on Slaton, though, is not so much with the fumbles.
Sure, the fumbles drive me insane and have nearly cost me a coffee table and new TV, but I think that he can recover from that.
Even if he does, though, I have concerns about his consistency.
I've re-watched a number of games this season, and it just seems that Slaton lacks a bit of vision, which costs him consistency.
If you look at Slaton's career so far, you may notice a decent yards per rush, but you have to look at how those yards are distributed.
If you have one back who gets stuffed for one to two yards each attempt but occasionally breaks one for 30 yards, would you prefer him to a back who runs for a consistent four to five yards but is not as explosive?
The explosive guy is a great threat, but unless a player can be more consistent from rush to rush, it will be more difficult for him to be a great back.
At some point, the Texans are going to find a back who they can rely on late in games and who can help both get them in and out of short yardage situations.
Okay...maybe not technically, as his career will likely spill into the '20s, but he will definitely have cemented himself as a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Moreover, the hot topic of discussion will be whether or not he can break Jerry Rice's receiving record.
Blasphemy, you say?
Check this out.
Andre Johnson has compiled 576 receptions in his first seven seasons in the league, and that's with David "Fetal Position" Carr as his quarterback for the first few years.
In the last four years, he's averaged 92 catches per season, and that's including an incomplete season so far this year and an injury-shortened season in 2007.
If he can maintain a 90-catch pace for five more seasons—when he'll be 33—and then go to 80 catches for two years before ending the decade with 70, 60, and 50, he'll end next decade with 1,366 receptions.
That's only 183 receptions short of the record, and it doesn't count any potential playoff receptions or the possibility of a longer regular season.
Johnson will be 38 at the time, and with his work ethic and improvements in medicine, it's possible he could play as long as Rice.
That's right—you heard me. The Texans will win the Super Bowl at some point in the next 10 years.
My money says it will happen between 2015 and 2019, but we'll become playoff regulars before that.
The MVP will be DeMeco Ryans, who will finish the game with 11 tackles, one sack, and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Andre Johnson will also score a TD, and Mario Williams will have one sack and shoot lightning bolts out of his arse.
The festivities will conclude as Bob McNair unveils a new statue of a simple bronze middle finger perpetually pointed at Nashville.