HOUSTON VS JACKSONVILLE PREVIEW By Brad Lorkovic (LORK 88) Battle Red Day just hearing these words brings back incredible memories of the 2004 season game against Jacksonville when Petey Faggins returned an INT for a TD a celebrated in a sea of red. No other memory in Texans history (outside of beating Dallas of course), has had a more positive influence than the one Faggins created. However, that image needs to be remembered because our team hasnt been up to par ever since that season. However, somehow Houston finds a way to step it up against Jacksonville every single time these 2 teams meet. Will this be the week that Battle Red lives on, or is it too much for Houston? Houstons Running Game vs. Jacksonvilles Run D: This part of the game will be a serious problem if we have Ron Dayne starting. Hopefully Gado and Lundy see A LOT more rushes, but well see. Their run D is the 9th ranked total and has 2 mammoths in Henderson and Stroud. The main thing about the running game is that they allow 100 yard rushers, but theyve allowed 1 rush over 20 yards all season. They all are huge and rely on strength, with Stroud being 305, Henderson around 320, and the DEs Spicer and Meier around 295. The LBs usually get to roam around and make plays because of this, but luckily their pro bowl caliber MLB Mike Peterson is out for the year so they are moving LBs around and starting a rookie most likely. With such a big D Line to go against, I could see problems getting to the Because of this, I could see outside plays being most successful against this because inside runs are a disaster without huge linemen who can hold up our O Line. Based on this, I think Dayne needs to stay away from the field. Should be a long day running the ball, but we must stick with it regardless just to keep their defense honest. Houstons Passing Game vs. Jacksonvilles Pass D: This has been our best form of offense week in and week out, but this week there is a big Proceed with Caution sign. Why do I say that? Rasheed Mathis is a man on fire this year and is tied for the league lead in INTs. Brian Williams is a solid #2 CB which theyve been missing in years past. However, hes a better tackler than coverage CB. At the safety positions, they have Deion Grant, a former Panther, and Donovan Darius. Grant is the balanced one who plays well in coverage and is a solid tackler. Darius on the other hand is the BIG hitter. In terms of pass rush, Jax lost Marcellus Wiley for the year, but Bobby McCray has stepped up big as a pass rusher. For the most part, they also get a lot of pressure from the middle. With Mathis on AJ being a tough battle, I could see Eric Moulds having to step up big this week and succeeding. TEs will also play a big role as will RBs out of the backfield to negate the safeties playing up more. Should be an interesting battle, but as long as Carr can stay upright, this will be what keeps us in the game. Jacksonvilles Rushing Game vs. Houstons Run D: Heres where the game can get out of hand. Fred Taylor is healthy thus far this season, and is playing well. He has good size, and is surprisingly quick on cutbacks which he does often and effectively. Jones-Drew on the other hand is the dynamic home run threat. He is a threat receiving, rushing and returning. Their O line is also on the bigger size and relies more on strength which actually might help us out better than in the past seeing as how nobody on our D Line is smaller than 285 (including DEs). Lucky for us, their RBs are known for breaking off huge runs. I can see our DEs doing a good job containing the outside runs, but I think our biggest problems will be the runs inside. Our D Line has been slacking this season and I doubt our woes stop this week. We need them to at least hold up the line so DeMeco can make plays and stops. Slowing the run down will be step 1 to slowing this offense down. Mario played the run well last week, and hopefully he can do it again. The main thing we have to worry about is not over pursuing because Taylor will make us pay when we do. Jacksonvilles Passing Game vs. Houstons Pass D: Simply put, our pass D is horrible. Luckily, our real #2 CB, Petey Faggins, is back this week. How big of a factor it will be is truly unknown. Robinson has been decent, but seems satisfied with it while most of us want to see more. Our Safeties are bad, but luckily Glenn Earl will be back, which is more for run support. Therefore, our pass rush will have to be effective to keep our pass D afloat. As far as Jacksonvilles pass offense is concerned, they actually might be without Leftwich. However, Garrard is starting caliber and can still lead them. Reggie Williams is their leading receiver, with Wilford being their #2 this game. This year, TEs are more involved as well. Wrightster has had 161 yards receiving and gives them anther threat. They never use the passing game heavily, so we need to shut down the run to force them to throw the ball, especially if Garrard is QB. Position Battle QB Advantage: HOUSTON RB Advantage: JACKSONVILLE WR Advantage: HOUSTON TE Advantage: PUSH OL Advantage: JACKSONVILLE DL Advantage: JACKSONVILLE LB Advantage: JACKSONVILLE CB Advantage: JACKSONVILLE S Advantage: JACKSONVILLE K/P Advantage: HOUSTON RET Advantage: PUSH Key Factors To The Game 1) Injuries. For Jacksonville, it could be their demise as Matt Jones and Marcus Stroud are doubtful, while Byron Leftwich is favor a sore ankle and didnt practice Friday. If all 3 are out, its a huge blow and Houstons chances increase by a great deal. To top it off, Houston gets Kailee Wong and DeMarcus Faggins back from injuries. They both wont play the entire game, but a veteran presence like Wong is much needed as is another option at CB. 2) Please, somehow find a way to run the ball. Word is that Gado and Lundy both will get the majority of carries with Dayne not playing much at all. So far this season, our inability to run the ball has been a huge downfall, and with is much needed to keep drives alive and defenses honest. While I feel Dayne is a huge part of the problem, Lundy and Gado have to get it done this week. 3) Weve got to keep drives alive. We cant have 3 and outs, we need to keep moving the ball steadily. 3rd downs are key and we need to quit getting ourselves into those 3rd down and long situations. This will keep drives longer and our horrid defense off the field. We also need to be able to stop them on 3rd down to help our offense. Ive had this on here for the entire season and will until we start converting more 3rd downs.