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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This year’s surprise team will be ...

After the Detroit Lions whipped the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, some analysts were quick to anoint the Lions this year’s surprise team.

Not so fast.

The Lions’ 36-21 victory was impressive, but remember, they were playing the Oakland Raiders.

Last year’s 2-14 Oakland Raiders.

Somebody HAD to win that game. I want to see the Lions put away a few good teams before I hop on their Surprise-Team-of-the-Year bandwagon.

The Houston Texans WILL be this year’s surprise team. They opened the season impressively, knocking off the Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year’s 9-7 Kansas City Chiefs. The team that advanced to the AFC playoffs.

In terms of NFL victories last Sunday, few were more impressive than the Texans’. Against a playoff-caliber team, they thoroughly dominated every phase of the game. Dating back to last season, the victory was their third straight under head coach Gary Kubiak.

This isn’t last year’s team. Only 15 players remain from the Dom Capers’ era. The attitude in the locker room is totally different. After Sunday’s 20-3 win, players were happy, but clearly not satisfied with what they had just accomplished. As defensive tackle Travis Johnson said, “We were mad because we let them get a field goal. We really wanted the shutout.”

If these guys can stay healthy, they’ll be in the playoffs. And that would indeed come as a surprise to those who’ve watched the Texans since 2002.


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