Jadeveon Clowney Undergoes Knee Surgery, Out 4-6 Weeks

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Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher
The football gods clearly won't let Houstonians have nice things.

Already saddled with a tortured history laced with playoff and regular season disappointment and heartbreak aplenty, and carrying around the burden of a 357 day streak of winless football, it wasn't in the cards to have the gods just leave us alone for a week and let us enjoy our 17-6 win over the Washington Redskins, hideous as it may have been to non-Houstonians.

No, they had to lace our sweet bowl of J.J. Watt Butter Brickle ice cream (or whatever flavor he pimps for HEB this week) with a scoop of Clowney Torn Meniscus Turd.

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Texans 17, Redskins 6: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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Photo by Groovehouse.
357 days.

That's how long it's been since the Houston Texans last won a regular season NFL game. The last time the hometown team walked off the field victorious, Matt Schaub was the quarterback, Gary Kubiak was the head coach, and Vanilla Ice was rocking the house at halftime.

Sunday, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, Bill O'Brien coaching his first NFL game, and Smashmouth belting out their medley of "songs that will make you want to leave at halftime."

It remains to be seen if any of those three are an upgrade (actually, it's already known -- the halftime music was a decided downgrade .. I got your back, Ice), but the Texans, as they have now for five straight seasons, sit at 1-0 on the season after a 17-6 win over the Washington Redskins that was truly a game only a Texans fan could love.

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Gambling! This Weekend's Best NFL and College Football Bets

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Joel Kramer

I love football, but I hate football.

As you may have seen earlier this week, I gave out the Seahawks as one of my top season win total plays for 2014, taking the UNDER on 11 wins. I also, on my radio show, picked the Packers as the winners in the NFC North and an OVER for their win total.

So naturally, in the season opener, the Seahawks made the Packers look the same way Alabama makes a team like, say, Vanderbilt look. Totally outclassed and overmatched. So the season is not even a day old, and already I hate my bets, my picks, and my football watching life.

So there. Now, how about we pick some games, huh??!?? Who's comin' with me???!?


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Breaking Down the Numbers of J.J. Watt's New Deal

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Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher
"Part of the negotiation piece is to ensure that we structure the deal in such a way that we protect ourselves as best we can with respect to (cap)." -- Rick Smith on J.J. Watt's contract extension

With the Texans having spent the better part of the last four years pushed right up against the salary cap, as they've locked up core player after core player, fans would have reason to be at least slightly concerned that a gargantuan extension for all-universe defensive end J.J. Watt would be setting the team up for some more future cap peril.

However, aside from all being players whose contracts the Texans extended a year earlier than the team needed to, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Duane Brown all have one other thing in common.

None of them is J.J. Watt.

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The 2014 Houston Texans Season Is Basically One Giant Coin Flip

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Photo by Groovehouse
The schedule maker has been relatively kind to Bill O'Brien in his first season as an NFL head coach.
"This is not a long-term rebuilding process. I want to make that clear. We've got core players who are outstanding players, and we still need to fill a few holes." -- Bob McNair, 12/6/13

The day Gary Kubiak was fired, this was McNair's battle cry.

Despite 11 consecutive losses, the clear belief on high was that the Texans had plenty of top-tier NFL talent on the roster. They just had a few small personnel problems that were easily resolved with the football equivalent of spackle and touch-up paint.

The owner's narrative was clear -- this was a playoff-caliber roster that just needed a playoff-caliber coach. The only thing missing from the transcript of McNair's press conference was the THUD from the proverbial bus backing over Kubiak.

Enter Bill O'Brien.

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Five NFL Season Win Total Bets You Should Invest In

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Two days away from the start of the NFL season, and I'm getting all my ducks in a row for kickoff Thursday night.

I have the Texans schedule loaded in my calendar so I know exactly how many Sundays I'll have to watch a total menu of other teams' games during the season. (Total? Three. October 12 after a Thursday Texans game, October 19 before a Monday Texans game, and November 9 on the bye week.)

My fantasy auction is tonight, so combing through the last round of updates and roster tweaks from around the league. I won't bore you with what my roster looks like after the auction here or on Twitter. I hate people that do that.

All you need to know about my fantasy league is this:

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J.J. Watt Becomes Highest-Paid Defensive Player in NFL History

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Photo by Groovehouse
Man, you got to feel for the Houston Astros.

In a metropolitan area where only 40 percent of the city has the television capability to watch their games, and only a minuscule fraction of those people are choosing to do so, the only headline grabbing maneuver they had left (short of one of their players showing up in the iCloud pics with Jennifer Lawrence) was to fire their manager.

So they did that on Monday, firing manager Bo Porter and ruining the planned "slow news" Labor Day off day for editors and baseball reporters everywhere in the process.

And lo and behold, they managed to seize a tenuous grip on the Houston news cycle for about twelve hours. Good for them.

However, it didn't last long.

Because in a city where J.J. Watt could rip a loud fart and the entire city would immediately turn its attention to the Texans, Watt and Bob McNair decided to pull out the "news cycle" nukes instead:

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College Football 2014: Jameis Winston's Heisman Highlight Reel Begins (VIDEO)

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Screen shot from ACC Digital's YouTube page
College football is back, and for this we should all be grateful. It was quite the opening weekend over the holiday!

The season kicked off with an unexpected Thursday night beatdown by the Texas A&M over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, launching the career of Kevin Sumlin's next Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Nation, meet Kenny Hill!)

The Saturday morning, we started things off with Penn State winning James Franklin's debut as head coach in Happy Valley with a 26-24 last second win over Central Florida in Ireland. (NOTE: We need an 8:00 a.m. football game every Saturday. Please, President Obama, in between rounds of golf, make this happen.) We continued with Alabama getting a tussle from West Virginia in the afternoon before putting away the Mountaineers, followed by the first in what historically we know will be about a half dozen WTF moments from Les Miles in a 17 point comeback in the nightcap as LSU beat Wisconsin.

Good first weekend that also gave us some great visual gifts, two in particular which were very clarifying on a larger scale for the upcoming season.



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Texans Trade for QB Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum Era Over

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Waiver wire time in the NFL is like fishing through the discounted $4.99 DVD bin in your local Walmart.

One by one, you pick up, glance at and summarily toss aside classic time wasters like A Fish Called Wanda, Can't Buy Me Love, or any of the '90s superhero movies involving a protagonist other than Batman or Superman. Nothing in that bin is ever really good enough (even for only $4.99); you're just settling for it because it's there and fills a latent void.

The quarterback position in the NFL is a little different at waiver wire time, though. You can't just slide anything into that slot. Finding a quarterback by any means requires a little bit of thought and a little more discretion than filling other positions.

In Walmart DVD sales parlance, sometimes the $4.99 bin isn't good enough. Sometimes you need to pay a little more (say, $8.99) for the final copy of Deliverance in the store.

Enter, Ryan Mallett!

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Houston Texans: Final 53-Man Roster Prediction

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Normally, in the NFL's preseason, there's been a logical progression whereby you learn more and more about a team with each passing preseason game.

In years past, the starters play a quarter in the first game, two quarters in the second game, three quarters (roughly) in the third game, and then they all sit the finale. However, with controlled practices against the Falcons and the Broncos, along with a heightened sense of caution in keeping his top heavy roster healthy, Bill O'Brien really hasn't given us much to go on when trying to handicap this team.

Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, Brandon Brooks, Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt, Chris Myers...we've seen very little publicly of all these guys playing football. And even less of them playing at the same time.

Oddly enough, we may have learned more about this team in preseason game number four than any of the other three games.

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