We’re about to learn a lot about the Houston Texans.
The franchise has never won in Indianapolis, at the RCA Dome or at Lucas Oil Stadium.
A win at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday completes a 13-3 season and gives the team a week off, home-field advantage for a divisional round playoff game and, should it win that, home field for the AFC Championship Game.
A loss and they might end up playing in the wild-card round.
They should win. They have the superior talent on their roster. But superior talent doesn’t always win, particularly in a divisional game that’s a rematch of one you won just three weeks earlier.
Last year the Texans broke through. They went to the playoffs for the first time. They won a playoff game for the first time.
This year they seek to make another jump.
And there is a learning curve in going from a very good team to a championship-level team.
“Oh there’s no doubt about that,” Gary Kubiak told Indianapolis reporters in a conference call Wednesday. “I’ve been doing this a long time. Obviously we have an organization here that’s trying to figure out how to become a winner and how to become a playoff team. We’ve gotten that one done and it’s been a lot of fun through the process.
“But once you get there, there’s another level for everybody, coaching, playing, organization. If you are going to win a championship, it gets pretty obvious the further you go. So yeah, I think unless you are an organization that’s stepped up and won some championships, I think that’s a challenge for everybody.”
Leadership is a gigantic factor in making that leap. Guys like J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Chris Myers need to make sure the expectation remains clear. Then they need to lead in the most important way possible on Sunday: By playing well.
The Texans can lose Sunday and get on a playoff run and make a harder road work. But if they are who they think they are, they will earn the easier road. And when they get on it, they'll play like they have for most of the season.