I've been seeing it since last year and I want to know what you guys think about this: I believe the Texans resemble the 2003-2005 Cincinnati Bengals with a couple subtle but important differences. Hear me out before you get pissed, those Bengals were different from the sorry excuse for a team they are running out there now. In 2003 the Bengals came into the season a perennial loser with a new head coach and some talent on offense. They went 8-8 this year. The Texans went 6-10 in Kubiak's first year but his 2nd year we went 8-8 showing a lot of promise on offense and a lot of problems on D. In 2004 the Bengals went 8-8 again but they started to show some signs of being a legitimately explosive NFL offense. Not just good, potentially great. Their defense was still sub-par but it was evident that they had some young studs on offense in Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, and T.J. whosyourmamma. I think this is where we are currently at this season. We are establishing an offense that flashes its explosiveness often but we have (had?) a sub par defense and obviously our offense is still maturing. Now in 2005 the Bengals finally broke through and went 11-5 behind an offense that was firing on all cylinders and an opportunistic defense. I believe that is where we are headed but there are a couple big differences with out team. Difference number 1 is character. Difference number 2 is Mario. 1. By character I am mostly referring to football character, although we have them beat thoroughly (who doesn't) in off the field character. I don't see our team crumbling like a house of cards much as the Bengals have been doing since their breakout 2005 team. Look at the number 1 WR from each team for a great example of this. Chad Johnson vs. Andre Johnson. The Texans are playing with the kind of determination that those early Texan teams played with, back when we counted moral victories, its just that we have a lot more talent now. I don't see us losing any of our core talent and, luckily for us, that talent has great character. It would have been so easy to give up on this season after the 0-4 start or after Matt went down or at 3-7 etc. etc. This team has lost some heart-breakers this year but they have heart. 2. Mario gives us something that those Bengal teams never had. An elite talent on the defensive side of the ball that we can build around, who must be accounted for on every play, and who can wreak a game by himself while making others around him better. Don't get me wrong, if my comparison holds true and we break out like the 2005 Bengals I expect us to be an offense oriented team but I think our defense has a nice upside. Some other random similarities: If I had to pick a WR to compare Kevin Walter to it would be T.J. It doesn't hurt that he happened to be a Bengal at one point. The AFC North has been historically dominated by two teams, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. For the AFC South substitute Indy and Tenn/Jacksonville. In order to get to the postseason Cincy had to step up and take those guys down.