Chris Johnson's Resurgence Means Trouble for Houston Texans' Playoff Hopes

Caleb GarlingCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2011

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 04:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans scores his second touchdown of the game in the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

In early November, you'd have had a tough time finding anyone that wanted to play the Houston Texans.

Matt Schaub and the offense were firing on all cylinders, even without Andre Johnson, and the defense was quietly giving up the fewest amount of points per game in the league. Then Schaub went down with a strange foot injury and all of a sudden we were hearing Matt Leinart's name.

There is a little known scientific rule that if your team is ever dependent on Matt Leinart, then your playoff hopes have just been reduced by 50 percent. If your team is concerned about the injury implications when Matt Leinart goes down for the season, then your playoff hopes reduce another 49 percent.

Luckily, the Texans had enough games under Schaub that they could still hold on for that berth.

The problem is that a guy named Chris Johnson seems to be finding his legs. Despite getting paid and then promptly playing like complete crap this season, Johnson has now strung two 150-plus yard campaigns and is showing a nose for the end zone once again.

Though the Titans have come against soft defenses, but the production may be enough to get that engine, um, running again. Johnson will get to continue unleashing on soft D's to close the season, like the Jags and the Colts.

Tennessee has also been playing good defense for most of the season. While they've been giving up a decent chunk of yardage through the air and on the ground, their D is seventh in the NFL in overall points allowed. It can't be said enough: in today's NFL, if you can play defense and run the ball, you have a shot in every game.

The Titans have very quietly stayed in the hunt for the AFC South. They're two games off the Texans, and while this is by no means an easy feat with four games left on the season, the two teams do seem to be heading in opposite directions.

But most importantly of all, the teams face each other to close out the season. Should be a dandy.