Are the Houston Texans 'tomato cans' and 'frauds'?

  • By Gregg Rosenthal
  • Updated: Jan. 7, 2013 at 09:46 a.m.

The Houston Texans don't have to look far for bulletin board material. They can wait for the end of the week, when it's likely that no one will pick them against the New England Patriots. Or they can read Dan Shaughnessy's column in the Boston Globe.

Some choice sections:

1. "Could this get any easier? I mean, seriously? The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game."

2. Comparing the Texans to the 2010 Jets, who won in Foxborough after getting blown out in the regular season, Shaughnessy says:

"Those Jets had players and a coach who did not wet their pants at the sight of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Those Jets had attitude. The 2012-13 Texans? Pure frauds. The worst 11-1 team in the history of the NFL. These Texans have absolutely zero chance of beating New England here next week. And everybody knows that this is true."

It goes on from there, but you get the idea. Getting a rise of his readers is part of Shaughnessy's job. For the latter part of his career, it feels like the main part of his job. The chances of Shaughnessy having actually watched the Texans play outside of that game against the Patriots is slimmer than the Texans' chances of winning on Sunday, but that's not the point.

The Texans have their fuel. Bill Belichick will give Houston all the respect in the world, but this really is how many folks, especially in Boston, view this game. (Belichick will surely love seeing this column.)

I feel differently. The Texans are far more dangerous than last year's Denver Broncos team that went into New England last year. While we don't quite trust the offense to score enough points, the defense has enough pieces to give Tom Brady problems.

The Patriots are heavy favorites in this game, and they should be. But let's not get carried away. The Texans soundly beat the other two teams still left in the AFC playoffs. New England didn't exactly finish the season strong, and the Texans are still a team capable of beating any team on a given day.

Even if they look like tomato cans to the untrained eye.