Last game of the regular season.
January 1, 2012 is the last day of the regular season. The Houston Texans, for the first time, will be preparing for the post season and, hopefully, the road to the Superbowl!
The Texans will finish off the season playing the old Houston organization, Tennessee Titans, which is a match that has always been a fan magnet. That being the case it's in the Texans favor that the game is being played in the loudest stadium in the NFL and the home field of the Texans. If the Texans do not win, they will have an immediate rematch the following week in the same stadium but if they do win, they set the pace for their first playoff berth in franchise history and will host either the Bengals (Won against them in regular season), Raiders (Lost to them in regular season), or the Jets (Won against them in preseason).
Now for the game plan going forward. This is a team with insane amounts of talent. There are players on this team who are pro-bowlers and Superbowl players (With other teams). They have the skill and talent to make every yard possible and score in most ball possessions. They have a defense that has proven itself capable of shutting down some of the most explosive offenses. They have an offense with the proven ability to move the ball down the field both on the ground and in the air (That very much includes the time with TJ Yates). The key is, the Houston Texans cannot go into the playoffs in timid mode!
The Texans are in the situation where they must not be afraid to take risks. There is no room for fear or conservative play calling in the playoffs. Each team they face, from this point forward, will be playing for keeps. This is a time when the Texans need to figure a way to keep a two possession lead over any opponent through out the games. If they can extend further, that would be even better. To do that, they need to get the ball down field as quickly as possible and make red-zone visits count to start the first half, every time.
There is a good chance the Texans could meet the Brady Bunch on their way to the Superbowl. This is a team that must be beat with points. Bulls on Parade are easily capable of playing lights out defense but the Patriots cannot, ever, be under estimated. That game will have to be a full team effort.
The Ravens are the other concern in the playoffs. There is a good chance we will have to go to Baltimore to play the Ravens. Like Reliant is for the Texans, M&T Bank is for the Ravens, they have obvious home field advantage. This means the Texans will need to score early and often and play defense like a iron wall too high to throw over.
I have no doubt the Texans are capable of taking on any given team in the NFL. The key is for Coach Kubiak to open up the playbook and give everything available to every team we go up against until we have no more games to play in the post season. If we lose any game from this point forward, the winning team needs to know they earned that win. I see the team has already done this but it's time the entire coaching staff adopt the "No retreat, no surrender" mentality and take the risks needed to come out a winner. I mean no disrespect to any of the coaching staff in saying that, I am reacting to what I've seen in the last few games where it seemed play calling was a bit too conservative. I understand even the most experienced professionals can get nervous about what might lay before them but in situations like this, we have to swallow that fear and find the confidence and courage to make the difficult calls and trust in the players to make them happen.