- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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This week, we discussed J.J. Watt's candidacy for MVP.
Fair or not, the "Monday Night Football" stage gives him a huge platform to make his case for defensive player of the year, and even for MVP. If he harasses Tom Brady, gets a sack or two, and bats down a couple passes like he has in so many games this season, he can deepen the impression he's made on AP ballot holders.
I think it'll be awfully tough for him to win MVP, because Peyton Manning and Brady are simply too good at a position that's simply too important. I think the way the game has gone, it will be difficult for a defender to ever win MVP again.
Monday night is a giant game for the Texans for sure. Win it, and it would be exceedingly difficult for them not to get home field for the duration of the AFC playoffs. They'll pick up even more support as the darling pick to represent the AFC in New Orleans.
Andre Johnson has called it the biggest game in franchise history. I suspect he thinks that, in part, because it's the next game and the Texans are successfully executing a theme of going 1-0 every week. He knows it will do a lot to form, sway or alter the national perception of the Texans.
That national perception shouldn't be subject to change based on one night, considering Houston is 11-1, considering the Texans rank No. 1 in every power poll I've seen, considering they own wins against Denver, Baltimore and Chicago.
Frankly, if the Texans get smoked at Gillette Stadium, it won't hurt them that badly. They will still stand a good chance of securing the No. 1 seed if they recover to win their final three -- home against Indianapolis and Minnesota, and at Indianapolis.
And the Patriots could lose in a week, when the 49ers visit New England, which would allow Houston to drop one of the games against the Colts.
Monday night is a big game, absolutely. But it's not going to make or break the Texans' season.
It shouldn't make or break Watt's award candidacy, either. Realistically, though, it's probably going to have a big bearing on that.