If you’re looking for a sure sign the Texans’ 2017 season is virtually over, look no further than the two biggest topics this week surrounding the team. Front and center was the team’s handling (mishandling?) of Tom Savage’s concussion against the 49ers. Bill O’Brien was under siege from multiple sides over whether or not he saw (or anybody saw) Savage’s seizure symptoms after a hit from Niner defensive end Elvis Dumervil. That was topic No. 1.
The second and more subtle topic was O’Brien’s job security. That topic was triggered by former NFL front office guy (and low key O’Brien pal) Mike Lombardi saying that O’Brien’s relationship with the Texans’ front office was like the “Hatfields and McCoys.” This led to public shows of support for O’Brien from Deshaun Watson, Tom Savage, and Jadeveon Clowney, among others.
Such is life when your games don’t really matter anymore. Actual football takes a back seat. So let’s see what we can find to watch for this Sunday against the Jags, shall we?
4. Brian Cushing
Ok, I admit that I was completely wrong about the Texans’ handling of Brian Cushing post-suspension. When he was put on the shelf for ten games back in September after failing his second PED test, I figured Cushing was done as a Texan. I literally could not have been more wrong. Instead, Cushing waltzed right back into the building, and not only regained his starting spot, but also had his captaincy restored. So, I give up. I’m assuming Brian Cushing has a lifetime pass for anything he does. So, that said, if he is going to be around in 2018, then maybe Cushing can make himself useful playing the “John Simon” role in this defense, as an outside linebacker who holds the edge and makes the occasional splash play. We know that he is not one of the two best inside linebackers on this team anymore with Bernardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham filling those roles. So let’s make these last three games a 2018 audition for Brian “John Simon” Cushing… because if he is going to be around, he may as well make himself useful.
3. Green Bay’s playoff run
We interrupt this Texans Week 15 game preview for a quick dive into the potential playoff chase for the Green Bay Packers, who were left for dead a couple months ago when QB Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone. Now, Rodgers is fully healed, and pronounced himself back to work this week. So what do the 7-6 Packers need to do to make the playoffs? Well, here’s the playoff picture in the NFC:
1. Philadelphia (11-2, NFC East)
2. Minnesota (10-3, NFC North)
3. LA Rams (9-4, NFC West)
4. New Orleans (9-4, NFC South)
5. Carolina (9-4, Wild Card #1)
6. Atlanta (8-5, Wild Card #2)
7. Seattle (8-5)
8. Detroit (7-6)
9. Green Bay (7-6)
10. Dallas (7-6)
Here is the Packers’ schedule the rest of the way: @CAR, vs MIN, @DET
At a minimum, the Packers need to win out against that schedule just to stay in the mix, which unto itself is a tough putt, as all three opponents are teams ahead of the Pack in the standings right…