Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 10/31/11
The Houston Texans are 5-3, sit in first place in the AFC South and have beaten all three of their division rivals by an average margin of nearly 24 points. So why does it feel like something terrible is about to happen? Texans fans have an acute ability to expect the worst. This is mostly because their pessimism keeps getting rewarded with correctness. The beloved Oilers left town, the Texans have never made the playoffs and even in this promising year, the team's best defensive player has been lost for the year. You get the impression people are just waiting for Matt Schaub to suddenly leave football to pursue a rap career. This cynicism is hardly unique to Houston. The feeling of impending doom is as universal for sports fans as the unsatisfying ratio of nacho cheese to nacho chips. Texans fans aren't the most tortured in professional sports, but there is a feeling that's only because they haven't been around long enough. And yet, look at this team. It combines the NFL's No. 6 offense and No. 3 defense. Only eight teams have more sacks, only three have more rushing yards and only five have allowed fewer. The Texans run it and they stop the run. They pressure the quarterback, and their quarterback doesn't make mistakes. The Houston Texans do everything you supposedly have to do in order to get to the playoffs, and win within them. But it seems like they have been here before. The Texans were 5-3 in 2009, having just beaten the Buffalo Bills 31-10, setting up a game against the Indianapolis Colts that people, including Texans radio play-by-play man Marc Vandermeer, were saying was the biggest game in franchise history. Houston lost four consecutive games, all against divisional opponents. The Texans won their last four, but it was too late. At 9-7, they finished second in the division, lost a tiebreaker and missed the playoffs. Momentum died, they went 6-10 last season and here they are, in first place and staring their own past in the face. Half of Houston's remaining eight games are against teams with winning records, the biggest test perhaps being a Dec. 11 game against the Bengals (5-2) in Cincinnati. The Texans are expecting to get Andre Johnson back as soon as this weekend. The star receiver has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury. The Texans were 3-1 with him and have gone 2-2 since, averaging just 17 points in the first two games without Johnson. Johnson's return will give the Texans a downfield playmaker they don't have otherwise, and just in time for a playoff push. So while the Texans aren't exactly riding a parade float into the playoffs, things are looking up. But until they actually do it, until they don't blow it, they will peer into that mysterious fog of doom, and have to decide how they perceive themselves. Are they who they have been, or are they the kinds of guys who finish? And how do you know until you've done it?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Cousins wants franchise tag to be used on him

Cardinals use franchise tag on Chandler Jones

Report: Jets likely to try and trade Sheldon Richardson

Knicks considering releasing Derrick Rose?

Report: Steelers, Brown making progress on extension

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joel Embiid out indefinitely in Sixers star’s latest setback

Adrian Peterson’s father hints at solution for son to stay with Vikings

Tim Tebow arrives at Mets spring training week before report date

Report: Noah to undergo knee surgery, miss rest of season

Shaq ends his side of JaVale McGee feud after his mother intervenes

Red Sox getting custom beds for sleep room at Fenway Park

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker