Houston's Window Has Closed and Other AFC South Must-Reads

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 15, 2013

One of these guys has a window that is always open.
One of these guys has a window that is always open.Elsa/Getty Images

Generally speaking, there are no "windows" in the NFL if you have an elite quarterback.

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers will be a threat to win it all every single year they are in the league.

If you have Matt Schaub as your quarterback, the window could slam shut quickly.

Three excellent articles today discuss that very topic.

Rivers McCown of Battle Red Blog thinks Schaub's peak, and therefore the Texans' window, has passed.

Randy Harvey and Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle go back and forth with Harvey arguing the Texans are not contenders and Solomon holding out hope they still are.

While I generally am sympathetic to Solomon's premise that the "window" is a myth, McCown is correct. Schaub's play down the stretch revealed a diminishing ability at the quarterback position that will quickly cap just how far the team can go.

Exacerbating the problem is the long-term deal the Texans signed with Schaub and the team's tight salary cap.

Solomon's position includes key flaws like his belief that Danieal Manning won't decline in his eighth season. That's exactly the point when drafted safeties start to decline.

Houston's problem is that several key players are now past 30. The decline may not be a cliff, but it's clear the overall momentum for this team is backwards, not forwards.

What works in the Texans' favor is the same thing that blesses all playoff teams in the modern NFL.

Sheer random luck.

The playoffs aren't about the best teams nearly as often anymore. Houston is still a playoff-caliber club in 2013, and if it qualifies for the tournament, it'll have a shot to get hot and/or get lucky. The 2011 Giants weren't very good and they won it all.

It can happen to anyone.

Even Matt Schaub.


General Interest

Bill Barnwell of Grantland covers the weekend's games in spectacular fashion.

Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats covers the 4th-and-1 for the Seahawks.

Derek Schultz of 1260 WNDE has a problem with quarterback wins.

Scott Kacsmar of Cold Hard Football Facts breaks down the comebacks.

Jason Lisk of the Big Lead says pass defense let Peyton Manning down again.

Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus says touchdown rates normalize over the course of a season.


Houston Texans

Battle Red Blog runs down who should stay or go from among the Texans' free agents to be.

Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle rates the highs and lows of the season.

Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle breaks down the Texans position by position.


Indianapolis Colts

Kyle Rodriguez of Colts Authority looks at the play of Winston Justice.

Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com reviews the Colts' front-office hire of Jimmy Raye.


Tennessee Titans

Tom Gower of Total Titans breaks down the effect of field position on the 2012 Titans.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean says Jared Cook isn't happy about the coaching moves.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union argues that David Caldwell's biggest move will be at head coach.

Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union says the Jaguars are beginning to interview candidates.


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