Monday Night Football. It always promises a great, mid-season matchup of Super Bowl-bound Vegas odd favourites — as it did tonight with Houston and New England. Or, it sets up two once-great franchises and forces them to restore a decades-dead rivalry. If you’ve ever seen a Thanksgiving game featuring Detroit, Washington, Dallas, and Chicago, you know this to be true.
Except on December 10. The Houston Texans had a chance to leave Foxboro as the unquestioned best team in the AFC. Instead, we’re looking at Brady and his Patriots — as we always are this time of year — as the only team truly deserving of another Super Bowl berth.
New England 42, Houston 14. Damn straight.
And, really, it seems right.
Houston? It’s like we were all waiting for them to implode, or show some sign of weakness. They did blow it against Green Bay several weeks ago. But, that was several weeks ago.
Everyone gets one embarrassing performance, but now the Texans have had two.
New England, meanwhile, has come a long way from that early season humiliation at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. ‘Zona has lost nine straight. The Pats are clicking along as they always do.
This is the NFL. No matter who finishes atop the regular season, they’re always surrounded by questions. If they’ve come from nowhere to win their division, everyone will naturally question their resolve.
Even though they were in the playoffs last season — and won a game — the same can be said of the Houston Texans.
It’s still hard to take that logo seriously. It’s still hard to see them as far and away the best team in the State of Texas. It doesn’t matter if they 16-0 or not. It’s just… Houston.
With two bad, bad, bad losses to Green Bay and New England now this season, Houston hasn’t shown us anything better than what we could have imagined. They’ll have two playoff games to prove us all wrong — assuming they still finish in the top two in the AFC and scoot right through Wild Card weekend.
But, it will be tough. They’ll get Denver, or Baltimore, or Indy, or Pittsburgh.
Or, New England.
Do you really expect them to beat everyone in a row now?