Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 NFL Predictions: Top 10 Things Houston Texans Fans Can Expect

The Houston Texans have received a great amount of attention from around the league this offseason with contract disputes and a crucial suspension for steroid use.

But when it’s all said and done, it’s been a positive experience for Texans fans.

It’s helped pass the time, which has been a great way to cope with the offseason pain.

But with preseason just a few weeks away, we no longer have to cope. In no particular order, here are the top 10 things Texans fans can expect this season!

VOTP, My Radio Debut

For those of you who are unaware, I’m a 17-year-old freelance sportswriter from Tuscaloosa, AL, and two weeks ago I was honored as a requested featured guest on CBS Sports Radio (SportsRadio610 KILT Houston) to talk about my predictions for the upcoming season comprised in one of my articles titled, “Houston Texans: 2010 Game-By-Game Predictions…in Limericks!”

I would like to thank each and every one of you who read the piece, as without the increasing exposure I might have not been given the tremendous opportunity.

If you would like to hear the podcast, I would be more than happy to send you a tape via email as soon as I get it from the station.

Verse of this Piece

“My father taught me and said, “Hold on to my words with all your heart. Keep my commandments and you will live. Get wisdom and understanding. Don’t forget or ignore my words. Hold on to wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love it, and it will keep you safe.”—Proverbs 4:4-6 (Proverbs 4:1-3 in previous article and verses 7-27 are expected to follow.)

I have written a verse of my own choosing (unless one was requested) with every new article I’ve presented since I began with after my 50th piece on Bleacher Report.

This is just something small to glorify my Lord and Savior. I hope this will inspire someone to step out, to speak without fear, and perhaps one day start somewhat of a trend. If you’d like to request a verse, toss a message over via inbox. God Bless!

No. 10 UPSET ALERT: Brewing Upset in Week 1 in Reliant Stadium

The Texans play host to the Colts to kick off the 2010 season. Houston has only conquered Indianapolis once in their eight year history, but has always given the Colts everything they could handle.

With King Schaub and Andre Johnson at their best, the puzzle set in place, and an invigorating crowd atmosphere, the Texans pull off the win in thrilling upset fashion. (Prediction: Texans 27, Colts 23)

No. 9 A Weekly List of Marquee Game Predictions from Cowboys and Texans Fans

Beginning in either preseason or Week 1 of the regular season, I will be conducting a weekly column unveiling NFL marquee game predictions along with a trusted panel from Cowboys and Texans fans’ perspectives.

The idea was inspired via B/R Senior analyst Terrence Robinson and the NFL Fox Pregame Show. The series will be a mix of both, but producing entirely original work and analysis, of course.

No. 8 DeMeco Ryans and Zac Diles Pick up the Slack During Cushing’s Suspension

Brian Cushing had a phenomenal NFL debut, producing 133 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 4 sacks, and 4 interceptions, along with being crowned 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

However, Cushing faces a four-game suspension to begin the season due to steroid use. While this could mar the defense, DeMeco Ryans is prepared to lead and take charge.

Additionally, Zac Diles has recently turned heads and plans to up his game as well. Diles will remain on the weak side instead of moving to Cushing’s spot, preventing a second adjustment, as weak side and strong side linebackers have different responsibilities.

No. 7 Retribution: “The Bonecrusher” Will Take No Prisoners Against the Chiefs

Bernard Pollard, also known as “The Bonecrusher” and “Patriot Killer,” has racked up 300 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, and 7 interceptions in his four seasons in the league.

The infamous and extremely lethal free safety reportedly has revenge in mind when his club faces Kansas City, his former team, in Week 6. You can expect this game to get pretty ugly, as the entire secondary no longer relies solely on Pollard’s performance.

No. 6 Three-Headed Monster at RB Will Succeed and Create Balance on Offense

Houston led the league in passing last season, but ranked 30th in rushing. But with the O-Line more experienced, additional offensive versatile weapons, and a three-headed monster at running back, look for more balance from the Texans in 2010.

Arian Foster performed extremely well at the end of his rookie debut and expects to resonate in an effective 1-2 punch with bouncing-back Steve Slaton to start the season.

Ben Tate will then shortly join the crew, pushing the pile, and breaking for big runs. Look for 900-1,200 yards from the tough trio.

No. 5 Fortified Pass Rush Will Improve the Look of the Secondary

Mario Williams has started every game in his four seasons in the NFL, producing over 200 tackles, 39.5 sacks, and 9 forced fumbles.

But to the surprise of most, Williams was outperformed by the death-defying duo in Antonio Smith and rookie Connor Barwin in the first year in Houston on the other side.

Moreover, Amobi Okoye will have aided help from rookie Earl Mitchell in the middle of the defensive front. Additional pass rush will come from Xavier Adibi and Zac Diles.

Bottom line—the added depth, talent and experience will ameliorate the overall success of the run defense and pass rush.

This will take away less of the pressure on second-year corner Glover Quinn, rookie Kareem Jackson, who I know will exceed expectations, and Bernard Pollard, who will rip your head off, if you’re not careful.

No. 4 Seven Texans Players to 2010 Pro Bowl

On offense, one of two exterior linemen will join Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. The competition is between the very athletic and dependable Eric Winston and Duane Brown, who has provided excellent protection on the blind side of Matt Schaub.

On defense, Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans are perpetual favorites and easily make their way into the Pro Bowl. Brian Cushing falls short due to the four-game suspension.

Bernard Pollard has a record year and takes the place for Cushing. Either rookie Kareem Jackson or tight end Owen Daniels finishes out the fierce tribe.

No. 3 Dominique Barber to Replace Eugene Wilson by Season’s End

Eighth-year veteran and injury-prone free safety Eugene Wilson is a solid mentor, but hasn’t brought much to the field since his days in New England.

Wilson accrued 29 tackles, 2 interceptions, and one forced fumble in eight starts last season. Filling in for the injured Wilson, Dominique Barber produced 33 tackles and 1 interception in six starts in his sophomore season.

Wilson is the projected starter, but regardless of another injury, you can expect Dominique Barber to be the new frontrunner by the end of the season, at the latest.

No. 2 .500 or Better Winning Percentage Against Divisional Opponents

Finishing second in its division didn’t come by beating its divisional opponents last season, as the Texans crashed into unchartered waters with a 1-5 record.

But this season their division tests aren’t all lined up beside each other, avoiding the bad four-game losing streak. The Texans accomplish the must-win against the Colts in Week 1, pounce on the Jaguars in the middle of November, and hold onto a 4th quarter lead to get past the Titans in Week 12.

This grants the Texans a solid as pudding 3-3 record against their division opponents.

No. 1 First Ever Playoff Birth

The Texans joined the league in 2002, and like a persistent drunk, they’ve continuously been knocking on the door, without acknowledging that it was unlocked the entire time.

This season the Texans have all the pieces in place, and proceed into the postseason door for the first time in franchise history.

Albeit there’s some arduous competition against the NFC East, along with the Jets and Ravens, the AFC West will provide some relief.

Many pundits will be in shock with the amount of success to come, as Houston takes the fifth seed with a record from between 10-6 to 12-4, with 11-5 the most likely outcome.

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