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Hump game for Texans


The Houston Texans have never had a winning season. They've been over the .500 mark a few times during the season, only to quickly fall back into the red, and that's what makes Sunday's game so important. It's perceived that this is the Texans' chance to get over the hump and stay there.

That's what the winless Jaguars will be facing at Reliant Stadium, a Texans team that is coming off one of the biggest wins in the team's eight-year history and determined to become a playoff contender.

So why isn't coach Gary Kubiak more confident of his team's upward direction?

"It was a big win but we're not flying very high," Kubiak said following his team's 34-31 win in Tennessee. "We've got a lot of problems; we've got issues."

The Texans' two big issues are dead-last rankings in rush-offense and rush-defense. The latter is so bad that it has the Texans in last place in overall defense.

They don't run the ball and they don't stop the run. So how did they beat the Titans? With a red-hot passing game, led by quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson.

"We haven't been very consistent as a football team. We got our butt kicked the opening week (by the Jets). We played very poorly as a team. We came back and made some plays last week but we've got a lot of issues on our team if we're going to get better and have a chance to be competitive in our division and throughout the league," Kubiak added.

Ouch! That doesn't sound like a coach who just upset the defending AFC South champion.

Maybe it's because Kubiak is facing a perceived win-or-else expectation this year. Texans owner Bob McNair has said .500 isn't good enough.

"Well, that's the truth," Kubiak said. "You don't last long in this league being .500. We started from scratch a few years ago. We've made some strides but obviously not the strides that everybody wants to make and that includes me, but I like the challenge. That's why I coach."

That's also why Sunday's game is so big. Should the Jaguars upset the Texans, it could be a blow from which Kubiak and his team might not recover. This is a hump game in more ways than one.

The Jaguars are looking for their first win of the year. They'd love to have a hump game this season, which is generally regarded to be a rebuilding year.

"When things don't go well, you can't wait for your next opportunity to line up," coach Jack Del Rio said.

"The morale is good," quarterback David Garrard added. "I definitely wish it was a whole lot better, but if we get a win this weekend, it'll get better."

A win would do so much for each team. With a win, the Texans might be able to move into first place in the AFC South against visiting Oakland next week. With a win, the Jaguars would have a much better feeling about their season heading into a home game against Tennessee. A win might even help the Jaguars attract more fans for that game.

This one is big for a lot of reasons. It's so big for the Texans that they decided to designate this game a "Battle Red Day." The Texans are 4-1 in "Battle Red" games against the Jaguars.

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