Are the Houston Texans Doomed?

The Texans' month-long dive from top team in the AFC to number three seed with no bye week has fans and sports scribes talking like the franchise didn't even make the playoffs. 
Wed January 2, 2013 7:24 pm
AP Photo | AJ Mast

How much has the NFL pecking order in Texas changed over the last two years? On Sunday, Tony Romo and the Cowboys missed their chance to finish with a winning record and get in the playoffs, while the Texans finished 12-4 to repeat as AFC South division champions. But it felt like Houston fans were having a worse day.

Once an 11-1 team with the best record in the NFL, the Texans ceased to be a Super Bowl favorite after New England beat them, 42-14 on December 10. Counting that game, Gary Kubiak’s squad finished out the season 1-3, dropping them from the number one seed in the AFC to the number three seed behind the Denver Broncos and New England. This past Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis, the only actual “must-win” of the three, clinched it: Houston will host the sixth-seeded wild card Cincinnati Bengals for the second straight year instead of earning a week off. 

“The Texans are reeling like no other playoff team,” John McLain of the  Houston Chronicle wrote, and that is no minority opinion. 

“I think they are in trouble,”  opined Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “On some level, I think they think they are

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