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Playoffs
12-17-2011, 09:38 AM
Three to Focus on: Panthers @ Texans, Week 15
December 17th, 2011 | Author: Gordon McGuinness


With the Panthers already eliminated from the playoffs and the Texans secure as AFC South champs, there’ll be no matching desperation for the win from opposing sidelines.

Each team, however, has its motivation–Houston is looking to continue a seven-game win streak and is squarely in the hunt for a first-round bye, while Carolina is looking to prove to themselves that they can take the next step beyond just competing and begin to win with regularity.

2011 has proven to be a landmark year for each franchise (the start of a resurrection for Carolina and a long-awaited breakthrough for the Texans) and it’s fitting, perhaps, that a pair of rookie quarterbacks are now playing huge roles. Change brings with it a clean slate, an opportunity to believe again, and both of these teams clearly believe they are on the right track. So, as they take the field on Sunday, these two organizations that are headed in the right direction will each seek the victory … a victory that represents a piece of the foundation for one and an immediate reward for the other.

To that end, here are three key matchups that will help determine which walks away the winner.

Carolina’s Wide Receivers vs. Houston’s Cornerbacks

Steve Smith (+7.0) is making the most of having a strong-armed quarterback, with 30 of the 111 times he has been targeted coming on passes of more than 20 yards, resulting in 12 catches for 492 yards and three touchdowns. Adding that to the rest of his receptions, Smith is averaging 18.2 yards per catch. Opposite Smith, Legedu Naane (-12.8) has not made close to the same impact as Smith. Targeted 69 times this year, he has pulled in 40 catches for 439 yards with just the one touchdown and, impressively, only three drops.

In Houston, Jonathan Joseph (+12.2) has made an instant impression and currently ranks as our third-best CB overall. Allowing just 55.2% of passes thrown into his coverage to be caught, Joseph has only given up two touchdowns while picking-off four passes and breaking-up another eight. Kareem Jackson (-3.2) hasn’t made quite the same impact, allowing a 59.1% completion percentage and a disappointing 15.7 yards per catch average. Impressively, he has allowed just three touchdown receptions but he has only broken up three passes and has added just one interception.

Carolina’s Pass Rush vs. Houston’s Offensive Tackles

Once again, Charles Johnson (+18.4) leads the way for the Panthers’ pass rush with 10 sacks, six hits, and 29 pressures. That’s not to say that Greg Hardy (+8.9) hasn’t impressed this year, with the only real difference in numbers being that Johnson has more sacks. Hardy’s three sacks, eight hits and 28 pressures are the perfect complement opposite Johnson.

For the Texans, former first-round draft pick Duane Brown (+5.6) has been impressive as a pass blocker, coming in as our fifth-best pass blocking left tackle so far. That’s for good reason too, he has yet to allow a sack all year while surrendering three hits and 20 pressures. Opposite Brown, Eric Winston’s (+9.6) play has also been noteworthy and he’s currently our sixth-best pass blocking right tackle. Allowing four sacks, two hits and 17 pressures, Winston has combined with Brown to give the Texans a steadying force amid a season of tough injuries in Houston.

Arian Foster

The key reason the Texans were able to overcome those injuries and still win the AFC South with three games remaining in the season is the strength of their running game. And now that he’s back at 100% we are seeing the best out of Arian Foster (+12.6) again. Averaging 4.0 a carry, Foster is closing in on 1,000 yards on the ground with 957 heading into this week. 561 of those yards have come after contact with an average of 2.3 yards after contact on every run. It wouldn’t be fair, however, to mention the strength of the Texans’ running game without talking about Chris Myers (+27.9) too. His play at center this year is far and away better than we’ve seen from anyone else, with his +25.2 grade as a run blocker a major part of that. Having a running back like Foster, running behind a line with a center as good as a run blocker as Myers, the Texans manage to get by without the likes of Matt Schaub, Mario Williams and Andrew Johnson.

http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/12/17/three-to-focus-on-panthers-texans-week-15/

ObsiWan
12-17-2011, 10:41 AM
:goodpost:
Thanks again. Always a good read.
although I do wonder why they never predict a winner...

ESAD2-14
12-17-2011, 10:46 AM
Having a running back like Foster, running behind a line with a center as good as a run blocker as Myers, the Texans manage to get by without the likes of Matt Schaub, Mario Williams and Andrew Johnson.



It's going to be interesting to see how Cam Newton responds to pressure from the D, and see if our D can keep Newton contained. At the same time it's going to be interesting to see if there is much drop-off with the Texans D w/ Phillips on leave. I am hoping Kareem gets some help on his side of the field when they put him out there; I cringe watching him flail at the opposing WR when the ball is thrown his direction.

Good ol' Andrew, e and w are close on the keyboard to be fair. However, seeing Andre's name so carelessly handled deserves at least a small amount of criticism. :bat:

SAMURAITEXAN
12-17-2011, 05:12 PM
It's going to be interesting to see how Cam Newton responds to pressure from the D, and see if our D can keep Newton contained. At the same time it's going to be interesting to see if there is much drop-off with the Texans D w/ Phillips on leave. I am hoping Kareem gets some help on his side of the field when they put him out there; I cringe watching him flail at the opposing WR when the ball is thrown his direction.

Good ol' Andrew, e and w are close on the keyboard to be fair. However, seeing Andre's name so carelessly handled deserves at least a small amount of criticism. :bat:

Oh man, you don't know Andrew? He sometimes appears on other sports writers' article that don't know much about Texans. We call Andrew an invisible little brother of Andre that is not on our current roster. At least they can do is check player's name if it is legit.:mariopalm: But to make a mistake on Andre caliber of player is just :mariopalm:

Go Texans!!!

Playoffs
12-17-2011, 05:16 PM
Good ol' Andrew... :bat:
Just tweeted the author.

Perhaps too much "holiday spirits" when he wrote that?

The Pencil Neck
12-17-2011, 05:23 PM
I don't care what you haters say. Andrew is special.

SAMURAITEXAN
12-17-2011, 05:25 PM
I don't care what you haters say. Andrew is special.

:spit: Yeah, we need another WR like Andrew Johnson.

Go Texans!!!

Playoffs
12-17-2011, 07:55 PM
@PFF_Gordon Gordon McGuinness
@AsleepT Fixed now, thanks for the heads up
1 minute ago via web
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ObsiWan
12-18-2011, 04:10 AM
I don't care what you haters say. Andrew is special.

:spit: Yeah, we need another WR like Andrew Johnson.

Go Texans!!!

Andrew Johnson....?
Wasn't he president after Lincoln...??
http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQzEi9PfrsW1FWMcp35sDho0NXlIBYVR zR6VHuqLqc8_5zZ3GE0
:bubbles:

SAMURAITEXAN
12-18-2011, 04:17 AM
Andrew Johnson....?
Wasn't he president after Lincoln...??
http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQzEi9PfrsW1FWMcp35sDho0NXlIBYVR zR6VHuqLqc8_5zZ3GE0
:bubbles:

No, that was Obama. I am talking about current president Andrew Johnson.:boogereater: