Last week we went 1-2-1 with our predictions. Let’s see if we can do better this week, when the Cleveland Browns come to town.
This is the kind of game we should win…. if we were another franchise. Browns fans undoubtedly feel me here — poorly-run teams’ fans bond over being on the wrong end of “any given Sunday.” But for maybe one golden stretch back in 2012 — before one too many Matt Schaub injuries, before one too many Arian Foster injuries, before those godforsaken letter jackets — we’ve played like every other Houston team, in every other sport: Down to the level of our competition.
The Browns’ level is pretty low. Recently their front office has gone all-in on the football version of Moneyball, hoarding draft picks and banking enough cap space to bail out Zimbabwe. If it works, the Browns will be a juggernaut in 2020…
…but it’s 2017. And, of course, they’re the Browns, so they can’t help doing Browns things like engineering themselves a quarterback controversy. Nobody thought DeShone Kizer was NFL-ready coming out of Notre Dame, which is why Cleveland was able to snag him in the second round of this year’s draft. Knowing he wasn’t ready, and knowing they wouldn’t be competitive this season, the Browns made the smart long-term decision to redshirt him… then went back on it. Kizer played like you’d expect an unready second-round rookie to play, so they pulled him, and now they’re up to their 28th starting quarterback in 18 seasons.*
Given all that, I’d predict a Texans victory. Except….
….the Browns basically own our draft next year, in what’s shaping up to be a very deep class. As with all things relating to our beloved team, ask yourself: “What’s the most Texans-y thing that could possibly happen?” As JC noted earlier this week, the most Texans-y thing that could possibly happen after finally finding an offense is losing our entire defense (you know how that turned out). Given the draft situation, then, the most Texans-y thing that could happen this year would be for us to lose to the Browns, thus worsening our overall record and giving the Browns higher draft positions next year…
…positions from which they will take the surefire Hall of Famers that could’ve been ours, had Rick Smith not Rick Smithed the absolute shit out of our quarterback situation last year.** Think of it like 2011, but in reverse — that year, you’ll recall (unless you’ve washed it out of your brain with several barrels of vodka, and nobody would blame you if you did), our beloved Texans squeaked out a win over the utterly pathetic Indianapolis Colts… giving them the opportunity to draft yet another franchise quarterback who will torment us for decades to come.
So, my overall prediction is: Browns 24, Texans 21.
— Mike Vrabel will overcompensate for Watt’s and Mercilus’s absence by blitzing like Erwin Rommel on meth. It won’t go well. If you’ve got a Browns WR on your fantasy team, start him — he’s gonna be wiiiiiide open a few times on Sunday.
— Will Fuller will drop a sure touchdown, because Will Fuller.
— At least two of the interceptions Deshaun Watson has been begging opposing defenses to catch all season will, in fact, be caught.
— Because CBS loves taunting Texans fans, their camera crews will keep cutting to that one shot of BOB on the sideline. You know the one, where something completely predictable just happened but he looks flabbergasted. That expression he makes is cranky, yet somehow innocent, like the expression a baby would make if it knew every single curse word in the English language, but couldn’t quite make the sounds.
Check back Monday and see how we did.
*Just for giggles: Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien, the two most hook-happy QB roulette players this side of Lake Erie, have started ten different quarterbacks. That’s an average of 2.4 starting quarterbacks per season, which is actually worse than Cleveland’s pace of 1.56 starting quarterbacks per season. Rick and BOB, ladies and gentlemen — making the Cleveland fucking Browns look competent since 2014.
**Anybody got any contacts at the Oxford English Dictionary? The verb “to Rick Smith” needs to be added to the lexicon. It means “to fuck up in some bizarre, nearly inconceivable way that is somehow exponentially worse than all the smaller errors that went into it, such that the fuckup is far more than the sum of its parts.”