The season is almost over, a winning record and postseason berth have not been possible for a while. Yet the Texans have played hard and have had a couple of recent wins to show some solid evidence of their efforts.
You look at the record and it's obviously not what anyone wanted. The stats aren't pretty but they don't tell the whole story.
In eight of the 12 losses, the Texans were within a touchdown or less in the fourth quarter. The four lopsided defeats certainly put a stain on things but three of those really didn't slip out of control until the second half.
No one is saying this team was 'right there' all the time as we head into the final week. But it's a fact that a play or two here or there could have resulted in a few more wins.
As Bill Parcells said, "You are what your record says you are," and the Texans have to live with that. But they've been playing like so much is on the line. It always is in the NFL. I've always said that it's in the best interest of everyone's careers to keep putting out a winning effort. They have.
The Texans had exhilarating victories over the Jaguars and Chargers, then went toe-to-toe with the 49ers, leading them in the second half and being down only three in the fourth frame. They've had many opportunities to get over the hump in most of the losses but weren't able to get to the finish line first.
There's one more chance to get a win and in the process, make the Titans miserable. The Texans did it in November in Nashville and now they'll be at home.
Since that rain-soaked game, Tennessee has gotten healthier. But so has Houston. The key will be to not let the run-happy Titans get in gear with the ground game. That's easier said than done. Somehow, the Texans have to ignite the 'Takeaway Train.' They were able to pick off Ryan Tannehill four times in the last matchup.
It's fan appreciation day and it's another opportunity to win and for the crowd and for the players to show out as we head into what could be the most exciting offseason in the history of the team.
Watch the Houston Texans take on the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 9. Kickoff is at noon. Click here for tickets.