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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This Weekend's Best Bets: College Football Is Here

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Dinur
207 days. That's how long I've been waiting.

When the piece of cheese sitting at the end of the summer-long maze is redemption, the clock ticks slowly. The pages get ripped off the calendar at a glacial speed. August couldn't get here soon enough. Because here's the thing -- I sucked at giving you picks last year. Absolutely terrible.

44-70-4, to be exact.

That was my record. It was a brutal 2013 campaign. The only thing at all appropriate about my 2013 handicapping was that I am based out of Houston, where 2-14 on the field is the equivalent of 44-70-4 when handicapping.

So let's hope that 2014's theme is redemption. Redemption for me, and redemption for Toro! And a trickle of cash for all of us! (Except you, Toro.)

Let's hit some college games for the first weekend, shall we?

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Gambling! Five College Football Season Win Total Bets You Should Play

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Monica
Each week in this space, I plan to give you, the faithful HoustonPress.com news blog reader, six picks against the spread for the upcoming football weekend.

I would encourage you to read them even if you don't plan to wager as they serve the dual purpose of conveying football predictions as well as force-feeding you references to Breaking Bad, Star Wars, and adult film stars. However, perhaps there are some of you who would like to have some action out there, but aren't up for the game to game grind of weekly wagering.

You want a long-term investment, a way to enjoy the thrill of gambling while still getting analogies comparing Nick Saban to a combination of Walter White, Darth Vader, and Peter North.

Well, my friend, may I interest you in the magic of the Season Win Total Bet?

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Niners-Texans: Five Players To Watch

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By now, four weeks into the preseason, fans should at least have a general idea of how good (or bad) we think their team will be.

Yet, here we are on the morning of the final preseason game, and I'm no closer to knowing exactly what the Texans will be in 2014 than I was when Andre Johnson decided to return to the building on July 25.

Consider the following training camp variables you have to factor into any rational assessment of this team:



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ESPN Reports On Michael Sam's Showering Habits (VIDEO)

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Marcus Qwertyus
Before making doing a final save of each of my posts on this blog, I select a few categories that indicate the nature of the subject matter.

Prior to saving this particular post, I chose the usual categories of "Game Time" (code for "Sean wrote this") and "Sports" (because that's what I generally write about), and I also checked off "Football." But "football" isn't entirely accurate. I mean, this is a post about football insomuch as it pertains to Michael Sam, who is a football player for the St. Louis Rams.

However, the post itself has very little to do with the actual game of football. Since it's a report from Rams' training camp, it should, in theory, have everything to do with the game of football -- it should be about Michael Sam's ability to rush the passer, his contributions on special teams, or maybe his sack of Johnny Manziel on Saturday night.

But it doesn't. And we have ESPN to thank for that.

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Houston Texans Begin The Roster Trim Down To 75 Players

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Monica Fuentes
There will be cuts...

If you listen carefully, that sound you hear is the sound of hundreds of NFL dreams being shattered (or at the very least, put on hold, but "put on hold" doesn't sound nearly melodramatic enough for the internet).

My co-host Ted Johnson, he of three Super Bowl rings and a decade in the NFL, was a second round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 1995, who then became a quality stalwart on their defense. So he wasn't routinely in a training camp situation in which he was in danger of being cut (although, to be fair, once you get a veteran's salary, you're always in danger of something -- pay cut, being cut, paper cut, lots of cuts). To that end, Ted has said in his time in the league, he made a point to never learn the names of rookies in camp because chances are most of them would be gone in a month.

And nobody likes emotional good byes, right?

On Monday, the Texans began the process of the tearful adieus to many of the training camp bodies that were the foundation of the waning moments of blowouts in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason.


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O.J. Brigance Takes The Ice Bucket Challenge (VIDEO)

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Screen shot of the Brigance Brigade YouTube page
Like any internet meme, even one that is unequivocally benevolent and productive, we knew that eventually the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has undoubtedly helped to raise awareness and funds for ALS, would reach the stage where human nature pushes a significant portion of society to nitpick at and tire of the repetition of the message.

That's the way it goes, I guess.

Even though the Ice Bucket Challenge has been an undeniable success in getting people to donate to a worthy cause (since the challenges began in July, contributions are up over tenfold from the same period last year), people get "sick of it" because the uploaded videos have the nerve to clog their Facebook news feeds. ("How am I supposed to find out which 'Game of Thrones' character I am on this Buzzfeed quiz, if I have to keep wading through these videos that have raised tens of millions of dollars?")

The other common complaint is that people are doing these videos without making an actual financial contribution to ALS research, that there's some degree of narcissism involved with at least a portion of these uploaded efforts.

Ok, to that I say this:


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Texans 18, Broncos 17: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJDFNOsZ2HU
For the most part, preseason football is very boring.

I don't think I'm breaking any new ground with that white-hot take. Unless you're completely into the 90-to-75 cutdown bubble, or you're a degenerate gambler, there's not a whole lot of compelling stuff going on in the fourth quarter of a Preseason Week 3 game.

And so it was on Saturday night that me and my Sports Radio 610 colleagues, Mike Meltser and Seth Payne, sat in the studio watching the fourth quarter seconds tediously fall off of the clock, every one second feeling like it took ten seconds, as we waited to host the post game show for the Texans-Broncos preseason "game."

At the time, the Broncos led 17-10, and were lining up for a 36 yard field goal that would give them a 20-10 lead, effectively icing the game. I stared at the television with the same blank stare I'd had the entire second half, wondering what compelling angle we could possibly pull from this snooze for a three hour post game show.

"This is what it must feel like to write a eulogy for one of those weird recluses on Hoarders," I thought to myself.

Then, it happened.

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Texans-Broncos: Five Roster Battles to Watch

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Going out to Texans practice during the preseason is one of the more enjoyable parts of my job.

Typically, it's well attended by fellow media members, so it serves in part as a decent social outing each late July and early/mid August morning. In fact, the first day of Texans training camp is the closest thing to a first day of school that I've experienced in my adult life.

Also, you get to be like 15 feet away from NFL players hitting each other, so that's pretty cool.

That said, I'm not all that bummed out about the Texans' traveling to Denver this week to practice with the Broncos, even if it did deprive us of a week of practice to cover here in Houston. Why, you may ask? Well, look at the storylines that were either born or advanced since the Texans arrived in Denver:

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J.J. Watt Finally Speaks About a New Contract

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Photo by Groovehouse
"You've got guys in the Hall of Fame that have been franchised in back-to-back years. The franchise tag is worth something to the team, and you can't be afraid to use it." -- Bob McNair, 8/8/14

Whether it was Intentional or unintentional on the part of Bob McNair, if you're looking for a salvo that may have led to the rare contractual candor from J.J. Watt on Tuesday afternoon in Denver, that might be it.

Since about the time Watt was putting the finishing touches on his second season in the league, a football masterpiece that concluded with 20.5 sacks and the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award, his next contract has figuratively hung over NRG Stadium like an ominous cloud, blanketing more and more of the sky with every pass he defended and every quarterback he dropped for a loss.

When asked about a new contract previously, Watt would smile, defer, spit out a line or two about being "just a football player," and essentially cut the line of questioning off at its knees.

That is, until Tuesday.

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