There's a reason Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy called the Houston Texans "frauds."
It's because calling them "mildly overrated" is boring.
Shaughnessy's over-the-top attention grab riled up the Texans, but was much sound and fury signifying nothing.
The fact is that for the Texans to be fraudulent, someone would actually have to believe they were an elite team. Right now, the number of passengers on that particular bandwagon are few.
Houston is probably the third-best team in the AFC. It is the third seed and has over-performed its record by about two Pythagorean wins.
Sure, the Texans' DVOA has been dropping, but for most of the year, they lagged behind the Broncos and Patriots anyway.
The Texans are exactly who everyone thinks they are: They are a good, not great team with a puncher's chance of winning the Super Bowl.
So where does Shaughnessy get off calling them "the boola-boola Texans"? Obviously, the letter jackets were lame, but who cares? Comparing them to a college team is just overkill.
While the article is sure to ruffle everyone's feathers, it's particularly sad because of what an irrelevant point it purports to make.
The article itself is actually meant as more of a slap at the Patriots than the Texans. Shaughnessy's thinly-veiled contempt for the Pats pours off the page.
He's setting them up for an epic fail.
If they win, he can claim they beat a "soup can," but if they lose, it will go down as one of the epic collapses of all time.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Yes, the Patriots should run the Texans fairly easily, but it's not as if an upset is impossible. Jason Lisk of the Big Lead pointed out that rematches often go better for the loser than the first game did.
Just by random chance you'd expect the Texans to win three or even four times out of 10 against New England. It's the playoffs. Random chance and luck take over more often than not. The best team rarely wins the Super Bowl, which is great news for the Texans, who clearly aren't the best team.
Ultimately, Shaughnessy fails because the Texans aren't frauds.
No one actually thinks they are that good to begin with.
The Football Outsiders share the Audibles at the Line for Wild Card Weekend.
Scott Bolander of Blue Sunday proposes a novel way to eliminate kickoffs.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says the Patriots are heavily favored.
Reid Laymance of the Houston Chronicle says a key matchup is Andre Johnson and Aquib Talib.
Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star breaks down a long reception by Ray Rice.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star says players suddenly have free time.
Marcus Dugan of Colts Authority posts a notebook with quotes from Pat McAfee.
Tom Gower of Total Titans picks Zach Brown as the Titans' rookie of the year.
John Glennon of the Tennessean says the Titans need to help Jake Locker.
Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union says the next general manager can't pass on a good quarterback.
Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports David Caldwell is getting extra meetings in the GM search.