It is true that at this time of year hope springs eternal from every fan base. It is also true that contrariness runs rampant among them.
For every reason that someone thinks a team is primed for a title run, these kinds answer back with five reasons why they can’t or won’t. This is no different with the Houston Texans.
For every reference to the greatness of J.J. Watt, they get told about the shortcomings of Matt Schaub. With every mention of the consistency of Arian Foster, we’re told how Gary Kubiak has run him into the ground. Every time fans get excited about DeAndre Hopkins, it comes back that he’s just a rookie who hasn’t proved anything and might not translate to the next level.
For every positive, someone out there can find a negative in that thought. Houston sports fans already suffer from an inferiority complex, so they find it easy to crumble into the fetal position and call the 2013 season a lost cause because of one reason or another.
But the truth is, every team in the AFC has problems this year, and the Texans have just as good of a shot at going to New Jersey this February as anyone.
The big talking point this offseason for the pessimistic types has been that the team will never win with Schaub leading the way. But what contender in the AFC doesn’t have questions at quarterback?
Peyton Manning still finds new ways to lose in the postseason every year. Tom Brady might be throwing the ball to the water boy by opening day. Ben Roethlisberger could have the worst offensive line in front of him out of the whole conference.
Every team has questions there.
The next most common issue brought up is how the defense faded down the stretch. Any time you have Watt and just some dudes on the field, you’re going to struggle. Houston had to play two guys at linebacker in the playoffs last season who likely won’t even be in the league this year.
I can’t blame everything on injuries, as a good team overcomes them. But I’m not going to declare the defense a bust after it loses an all-pro linebacker for the season and starts to show a weakness in the middle.
What other team in the AFC doesn’t have weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball?
The Baltimore Ravens weren’t exactly the steel curtain last year, and they were far from an offensive juggernaut. But they got hot at the right time, and that’s all that matters. There wasn’t anyone who wasn’t picking the Ravens’ roster apart and declaring all of the reasons that they couldn’t win it all at the beginning of the playoffs last year.
The fact of the matter is that the AFC is wide open this season. Name any team that is considered a contender and try to sell someone that they have absolutely no holes in their roster. The national media wants to go ahead and crown the Denver Broncos, but they did that last season, too.
2012 proved that any team can win the conference or the Super Bowl. All you have to do is get invited to the dance to have a shot.
The Houston Texans are the only team in the entire league to have never played in a conference championship game. Of course, they’re still the youngest team in the NFL, so that might not be a fair statement.
But the time is now, and the opportunity has never been better.