If the Houston Texans were a pot of water, they'd be a watched pot.
The franchise has but one winning season (9-7 last year) in its 8-year history, and only had its first whiff of the post-season last year.
But after going to the final game of the season, when the Jets beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night, before being eliminated from the playoffs, the Texans may finally be reaching a boil.
It must not have been easy to be a Texans fan in 2009. Besides the heartbreaking elimination - it could easily have been Houston advancing to the AFC Championship Game as the upstart underdog instead of the Jets last year - when the Jets blew out the Bengals in Week 17, the season was one of close calls for the Texans.
Besides their season-opening 24-7 defeat at the hands of the Jets in Week 1, one score was the difference in all of the other 6 Texans' losses. They lost to Jacksonville by 7 and 5 points, Indianapolis by 3 and 8, Arizona by 7, and Tennessee by 3.
You may have noticed another theme within the 'close calls' theme - 5 losses within the AFC South. The Texans' only divisional win a year ago was a 34-31 win over Tennessee during their season-opening 0-6 funk.
In that sense, the Texans remind me of the 2010 Cincinnati Reds. The Reds opened their season this year going 3-3 against division rivals St. Louis and Chicago, then stuck atop the division and look like they're headed to the playoffs.
The Texans get 2010 started against the dominant team in the AFC South - the Indianapolis Colts. It's another 6 weeks before they play another divisional game - again versus the Colts - but that season-opening game at home against a team that is tough to beat in the regular season will set the tone for the Texans 2010 season.
A season in which the Texans have all the pieces in place to make a run to the franchise's first playoff appearance.
2010 Prediction: 11-5, 2nd Place in AFC South (Lose division tiebreaker, earn top wild card)