After clinching the AFC South division title for the second consecutive year, the Houston Texans are only in need of one final win, in their final two games, to clinch a first round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. This is huge for a team in only it’s second playoff birth. The Texans are in good position thanks to the 49’ers beat down of the Patriots last week. They also had a week three victory over the Denver Broncos, which gives the Texans an important tie-breaker.
Normally, I’d feel nervous about these next two games considering they carry so much importance for all teams involved. I feel a weird sense of confidence, one could even say arrogance, that the Texans can handle not only the Colts once again, but they can also handle the Vikings. I didn’t foresee the Vikings having any sort of relevance this year, so when the schedule was released I figured that this game would be a sleeper; and I think it’s still there. The fact the Adrian Peterson is having an outstanding year is giving me some last second jitters when I think about how the Patriots’ Stevan Ridley ran the ball all over us. You cannot just write off these Vikings, nor the Colts, no matter how badly I feel we can take them, we all know that anything and everything can happen in the NFL.
The ball is in our court, and Head Coach Gary Kubiak has said that he will not rest his players before the start of the playoffs. The first round bye is extremely important to the team, so Kubiak will have his players start this week and possibly next regardless of wins. Considering how the Packers’ season ended last year so abruptly after resting their players, it is a sign that Coach Kubiak has learned from the Packers’ mistake.
We know that these Texans are more than capable to accomplish the task and make the necessary adjustments to cover, and hopefully stop the seemingly unstoppable force that is Adrian Peterson. The home crowd in Reliant will play a huge factor in the game against the Vikings. I’d much rather clinch against the one-dimensional Vikings who have to rely on solely on Adrian Peterson, considering they have a lousy passing game from Christian Ponder. Outside of Jared Allen, the Viking defense also has no other threat. Winning against the Colts also provides more relief and options going into week 17 as winning is no longer a required.
To me, the Colts are sort of an enigma, and Andrew Luck and the Colts have certainly surprised many around the league. Being in contention for the playoffs only one year removed from one of the greatest falls from grace is a huge accomplishment. The Colts can hang with the best of the best, and in my opinion, have a puncher’s chance to beat just about anybody on any given Sunday, especially on their home field.
The game this Sunday is going to be exciting as both teams are fighting for something.
– Richard Perez