In addition to it being Schedule Release Day, it's also Tax Day. Leading up to the latter, people always seem to have a case of the "We-gonna's." We gonna do them when we get our W-2's ... We gonna do them in late March ... We gonna do them tomorrow..
NFL organizations and players do a similar thing when they see their schedule:
•We gonna win that game. We always handle those guys. Child, please.
•We gonna beat them at their place. They don't match up with us.
•We gonna ... Wait. I don't wanna go to freakin' London!
The Packers had a subpar running game last season and a defense that couldn't play any worse. Cornerback Tramon Williams took a Sam Bradford-esque step back last season. Dom Capers' defense didn't have the services of one of Green Bay's best players, Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, all year. Lastly, they can't be any worse in yards allowed. They were 32nd. There are 32 teams in the league.
Meanwhile, 2011 certainly would have gone differently for the Texans if Houston hadn't gotten leveled by the same injury bug that struck the Packers two seasons ago. Yet even without Andre Johnson for most of the season, Arian Foster at the beginning and Matt Schaub when it mattered most, Houston damn near made it to the AFC Championship Game.
The pundits will say that was just one year. Or that the loss of Mario Williams will deplete Super Bowl hopes. Bunk and bunk.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was brought in by Houston management in 2011, helping take the Texans from 6-10 to 10-6 and the defense from 30th overall to second. That was without Williams, who was on IR for the lion's share of the season. A team can make a quantum Lombardi leap quickly, and the Texans don't need the pricey Williams to do it. Brooks Reed, a strong rookie last year, should be fine.
Harrison: 12 for '12
Elliot Harrison counts down the top 12 games to look forward to in 2012, including a few rematches from the playoffs. More ...
New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens, Week 16. Same deal as 49ers-Pats, in that both of these teams were in the conference title game last season. Joe Flacco's protection was decent last season, but this is a game that Cam Cameron must give Ray Rice touches, unlike in Jacksonville and Seattle last season.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys, Week 15. A lot of events would have to break right for these storied franchises to meet in Super Bowl XLVII, starting with Tony Romo playing a little more clutch in spots, and getting some help. That said, these two organizations have played in three very competitive Super Bowls. Another would be just plain fun.