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Off to the Frozen Tundra

The dream of a winning season is still alive but the road goes through Green Bay. Burrrr.

Matt Schaub will start, and that's a good thing. He's aching to get back into the lineup and the team needs to see what he can produce in the final four games.

It's been tough for Sage Rosenfels who has made big plays but also has helped the other team out too much. You get the feeling that he might get the turnover thing straightened out with another start or two, but it's not going to happen unless Schuab is hurt or brutally ineffective.

Two things are becoming crystal clear: The Texans have themselves a potent back with Steve Slaton and the defense is starting to find a little groove.

Slaton scored twice and put up 130 yards, earning AFC Offensive player of the week honors. He's hardly been 100 percent, but it's hardly mattered. From day one, he has done whatever the coaches have told him and more. Bum Phillips used to say, "Two kinds of players ain't worth a damn - one that never does what he's told and one the ONLY does what he's told."

Dunta Robinson and Xavier Adibi have added a blast of speed and intensity in both their position groups. You won't get Adibi off the field anymore. Sure he's not huge, but he plays fast and makes hits. Dunta is his usual intense self. And Mario Williams? Just call him Monday Night Mario.

The win over Jacksonville on Monday night went about as well as you could hope. With both teams mired in tough seasons, it was the Texans who rose up and made a statement that they deserve a return visit from the ESPN crew.

The Packers are not exactly a Super Bowl contender, but this is Lambeau Field and this team was within a Brett Favre pick of facing the Patriots on Super Sunday last season. The Pack takes the ball away through the air and has returned six interceptions for scores. That puts the premium where the Texans have struggled, in the ball protection category.

But maybe the confidence-building win in cold Cleveland and the MNF binge can start a swagger that could yield big results. One more win and it's a showdown with Tennessee for a chance to go .500. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Green Bay is angry, tough and no pushover.

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