If you haven’t seen the ESPN Power Rankings for the Preseason, here’s a good time to look at it now. You see those teams in the top five? Those are great teams. Top 10? Pretty good. Have you looked at the top half of the list yet? Have you noticed your beloved Houston Texans haven’t been mentioned yet? You don’t see the Texans until you get down to #17. At least you know how some in the national media view us. Here in Houston, we are excited about the arrival of Wade Phillips, Johnathan Joseph, Danieal Manning and the return on all our healthy players. Do they care around the country? Not so much. What do we see that they don’t see?
The truth of the matter is, you have to earn the respect of those guys before they put you high on a list like that. There are fair arguments to be made about how the Texans shouldn't be behind Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams or the Dallas Cowboys, and I’m with you on that However, when looking at the other teams: Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears—You cannot say definitively that the Texans are better than them. So where does that put us? With the Patriots, Steelers, Jets, Colts, Ravens, Chargers definitely ahead of us, we are at best….7th. OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS AGAIN! Ladies and gentlemen, that’s why they play the games.
AFC South Blogger Paul Kuharsky wrote:
"Always a darling preseason pick. Could it be the year? Sure. Could it be another failure with people getting fired? Sure."
All Texans fans should understand how either one could happen. This is what that quote breaks down to: We make it because of the upgrades we have made on the player side and the addition of Wade Phillips. We don’t make it because Gary Kubiak is back to his stubborn ways and the 3-4 defense was a bad idea. I’m going with the former. Why? Someone every year makes the playoffs that didn't go the year before and this year is our turn. It’s a fact that the Texans have upgraded at positions that have needed them for a while, including in the coaching staff. I wouldn't take this ranking too seriously as far as our playoff hopes are concerned. Are we the 17th best team in the NFL? Of course not. Are we the 8th best team in the AFC? Not at all. Our schedule actually helps us this year, as four of the first six teams we play were playoff teams. If we get off to a good start (3-3 or better) we have a fairly easy last 10 games and are set up nicely to make it in the playoffs. Relax Texans fans, this is a year we earn that respect that’s been lacking for 10 years. This is the year Texans fans can save up money to purchase playoff tickets. Most importantly, this is the year we don’t have to hope to be high on a Preseason Ranking, because the Texans will prove it where it matters most, on the field.