2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Texans playing Lions for a spot in the playoffs

By LARRY LAGE - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-21 17:41

DETROIT (AP) - The Houston Texans have put themselves in a position to be the NFL's first team to seal a spot in the playoffs and to move a step closer toward earning home-field advantage in the AFC.

Houston (9-1) has won four straight and is 4-0 on the road this season, giving the Texans a great shot to be in consecutive postseasons for the first time.

``It shows the progress we've made,'' said tight end Owen Daniels, who has been with the franchise for seven of its 11 years of existence. ``A few years ago, it took us until the end of the season to get that ninth win. We're at that ninth win already.

``We're trying to stack `em up, but it's good that those are possibilities this early in the season.''

Houston needs to win at Detroit (4-6) on Thursday and have a handful of teams lose, or tie, to earn a postseason bid by the end of the weekend.

The Lions, meanwhile, will have to pull off a string of upsets against a slew of good teams to reach the franchise's goal of making it to consecutive postseasons for the first time since the mid-1990s.

Just when it looked like Detroit was living up to the hype generated with last year's breakout season by winning three of four games to climb back .500 earlier this month, the Lions lost two in a row. And that has made last season seem more like an aberration than the start of successful run for a floundering franchise that hit rock bottom in 2008 as the NFL's first 0-16 team.

``We're not thinking about playoffs or anything else,'' Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. ``We're thinking about the Houston Texans and that's plenty for us to think about right now.''

Like all good teams, the Texans have proven they can win even when they don't play well.

Houston trailed the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars last week at home by 14 points in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 43-37 win in overtime.

The Texans' defense, which has been among the NFL's best all year, struggled until it made stops when they were needed. It didn't hurt that quarterback Matt Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson had career-best games.

Schaub connected on 43 passes for 527 yards passing, both totals tying for second most in league history, and Johnson set a personal best with 273 yards receiving. His franchise-record fifth touchdown pass was a screen to Johnson, who did the rest on a 48-yard score for the game-winner.

``You just never know in this league week to week what kind of game you're going to be in and we got caught in a shootout type of game with a lot of offense,'' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. ``We were fortunate enough to find a way to win.''

Detroit did enough to lose 24-20 to the Green Bay Packers last week at home, where it had plenty of opportunities to get a much-needed win. The Lions' woes were made worse by a significant injury and distraction.

Left tackle Jeff Backus couldn't finish the first half because of a hamstring injury, which seemed to be in his right leg, and his 186-game starting streak that includes every game of his career is expected to end Thursday.

``It's hard to replace a rock that's been there for 12 years,'' said veteran center Dominic Raiola. ``It's just different without him out there.''

Detroit drafted Riley Reiff with the 23rd pick overall this year, planning to groom him as player to eventually replace Backus. The rookie might have to take on defensive end J.J. Watt, who ranks among NFL leaders with 11 1/2 sacks and leads all defensive linemen in the league with 11 passes defended.

Houston, though, won't have to worry about No. 2 receiver Titus Young taking advantage of one-one-one coverage because the Lions announced Monday he would be inactive because of his ``unacceptable'' behavior during the game against the Packers.

``When you're a player, it's your job to make the team happy,'' Schwartz said. ``It's not the team's job to make you happy.''

Lions fans have not been happy when it comes to Thanksgiving Day results.

Detroit has lost a franchise-record eight straight on the holiday - by an average of three-plus touchdowns - and has only one victory in the past 11 games in its annual showcase after winning nine of 12 games from 1989-2000.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group