I get asked a lot about who I'm pulling for in the playoffs. Some people think that you should root for the division. Bob Lamey, the voice of the Colts, told me he wants the Titans and Jags to advance because the AFC South has been heavily criticized and hasn't had two teams in since 2012.
But this isn't college. AFC South success doesn't help recruiting for the whole group. It doesn't bring more money to the 'programs.' So there's no real reason to pull for your frenemies in the division.
In fact, it's another Houston enemy that will probably get most of my immediate attention, and that's Buffalo. If you haven't seen the locker room reaction of the Bills players celebrating while watching the Bengals knock the Ravens out, getting them in, do it. Kyle Williams is there with his kids and if you don't feel some emotion watching him celebrate making the postseason for the first time, seek medical attention.
The scene reminded me of the Texans getting in for the first time in 2011. Only, our cameras weren't allowed in the locker room (say what?!).
I get mixed emotions seeing a team that the Texans beat by 43 points make the playoffs. Yes, the Titans not only survived that beating, but were also able to split the series, hanging on against a Houston team so depleted that running back Andre Ellington had to play wide receiver in an offense he didn't know. And the Texans almost pulled it out! But give the Titans credit. They beat Jacksonville on the final weekend, stumbling into the game, with everything on the line and getting the win.
The Jaguars are the 'great hope' of the division in this postseason. But they've hardly been hot. Since crushing the Texans in Week 15, they've lost two straight and Blake Bortles, who appeared to have turned a corner against the Texans, has struggled again. The Jags renaissance season might end quickly if a charged up Buffalo team gets hot.
I'm really not pulling for anyone. I want good games. And I want the Texans back on this stage. Fast. Being part of the playoffs is intoxicating, exhilarating and addictive. I'm going through withdrawal this week. There's something magical about watching the team practice while most of the league is at home. The build up to a playoff game is the greatest feeling of anticipation in sports.
Health alone will make the Texans better in 2018. But there are plenty of other items on their to-do list. And we'll talk about them all offseason long. For now, we watch.
Is it September yet?