HOUSTON VS JACKSONVILLE PART 2 PREVIEW By Brad Lorkovic (LORK 88) Oh how the memory of Battle Red Day this season still lingers and brings a smile to all of our faces. It feels like it was only last week when it happened, but in reality its been 3 weeks and you best believe that Jacksonville wants their revenge. Fred Taylor has already been quoted as saying We wont lose this time. There will be major differences this game, most notably at QB. Garrard is getting the start at QB since Byron is hurt and had a poor showing trying to play hurt. Stroud also has a chance to play which could bolster their scary defense. What happens this week, does Houston get the series sweep this weekend or does Jacksonville prove that Battle Red Day was a fluke? Houstons Running Game vs. Jacksonvilles Run D: This part of the game has been a lot better than the beginning and largely because of the strides Lundy has made in terms of experience. However, we need another performance like Lundy had against them last week to be as successful as we were. Their run D is still ranked 11th total and has 2 mammoths in Henderson and Stroud. Lucky for us, Stroud may be out yet again this week which would be a huge gain for us. The main thing about the running game is that they allow 100 yard rushers, but theyve allowed 1 rush over 20 yards all season. However, after Lundy did great against them, theyve locked down the run pretty well. In terms of their D Line, 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. 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. Lundy has great patience and uses his vision on outside runs. Overall, I dont think we cant do what we did last time we met, I think the biggest problem will be matching the intensity as I bet Jacksonville will come out with some high intensity that we need to match. It 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 the league leader in INTs this year. Brian Williams is a solid #2 CB which theyve been missing in years past. However, hes a better tackler than coverage CB as Andre had a big day against their defense, namely Williams. 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. What I would also like to see more of is the 5 WR sets and the spread offense we used so effectively against the Giants. Their pass D was a little worse, but theres no reason why it should work this week as well. Should be an interesting battle, but as long as Carr can stay upright, this will be our dominant form of offense. Jacksonvilles Rushing Game vs. Houstons Run D: Heres where we really need to control Jacksonville on offense. 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 big 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 arent 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 progressing 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 looked good when he played Jacksonville and has been improving, but we need a lot from him this week. The main thing we have to worry about is not over pursuing because Taylor will make us pay when we do, and Jones-Drew can too in many ways. Jacksonvilles Passing Game vs. Houstons Pass D: Simply put, our pass D is horrible. Its been improving slowly, and we made Manning throw some bad throws, but we still have a long ways t go before we consider our pass D improved. This week will be interesting because Garrard will replace Leftwich this week, after a great week against Tennessee (which any Titan fan will say was because Pac Man was out that week). How big of a factor he will be is truly unknown. Robinson has been decent, but seems satisfied with how hes currently playing while most of us want to see more. Our Safeties are bad, but Glenn Earl has been playing better, even though he still better at 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 better off without Leftwich. 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 as long as we dont be stupid and make his QB reads for him by giving him favorable match ups. 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) Stop the run. Taylor and Jones-Drew are their obvious strong point on offense, so we need to shut that out and fore them to do what they dont want to do which is throw often. If we can force the pass and game plan upon Garrard before hes ready, it could create turnovers and force bad passes like it did last week. If anything, it will make it harder for them if we can make them one dimensional. 2) Intensity. You know that Jacksonville is going to be intense and come out firing this game to keep Taylors guarantee and make sure they dont get embarrassed like last time. I think that we better come out firing because Jacksonville got a wake up call last time we played them and have won 2 straight since then. Lets not give them what they want and sweep them this season for bragging rights!! 3) Finish drives. Last week, we got in the red zone often and moved the ball easily, but we didnt finish that often. Weve got to find a way to get points out of every drive no matter what. Brown needs to make all his field goals and we need to create more manageable situations on 3rd down (which weve been improving on).