ProFootballFocus Three to Focus on - Texans @ Saints.

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Playoffs, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

    Apr 26, 2008
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    Three to Focus on – Texans @ Saints
    September 22nd, 2011 | Author: Trey Cunningham

    The New Orlean Saints enter Week 3 feeling good after laying a beatdown on the visiting Chicago Bears, taking advantage of the Bears’ atrocious offensive line and lighting up their elite defense. That game brought back memories of their 2009 Super Bowl season, where they regularly embarrassed other top-tier teams in games that were supposed to be close.

    The Houston Texans, as of right now, can only dream of the kind of success the Saints have had; the Texans have never even made the playoffs in their team history. That could change this year, especially with the perennial AFC South Champion Colts reeling without Peyton Manning. Are the Texans for real? That question has been asked on countless sports talk shows, and this game will be a much better indication than their previous two games.

    1) The Texans’ Running Game
    Thanks, at least in part, to Arian Foster’s break out 2010 rushing campaign, it is no secret that Houston has one of the best offensive lines in football, including OC Chris Myers, the 2010 3rd overall highest graded Center who occasionally plays for the All-PFF Team. Despite a hamstring injury limiting Foster to only 10 carries through the first two weeks, the team has rushed for 305 yards in just those two games. Most of that yardage has come from second year back Ben Tate, who has also forced a combined seven missed tackles in those games. With Foster possibly sitting out this game, Tate will most likely be asked to continue his impressive start to the year.

    The Texans’ offensive line will be a deciding factor in whether or not they can continue to successfully run the ball; they will need to in order to have a chance to win in the Superdome, where the Bears last week could only manage 60 yards and, as a result, allowed the Saints to tee-off on Jay Cutler to the tune of seven sacks, four hits, and a further 22 pressures. The Texans do not want to watch their QB endure such a nightmarish afternoon, so look for this to be a big part of their game plan. They’ll also be motivated to keep the ball out of Drew Brees’ hands for as long as possible.
    2) Drew Brees vs. the Texans’ improved Defense
    If the Saints had this match up last year, they’d have been licking their chops, as the Texans’ boasted the league’s worst pass defense (a -67.5 grade for the season). The Texans took steps to make sure they didn’t feature such a horrifically inept secondary this year: they hired a defensive coordinator with an impressive resume in this role (Wade Phillips), drafted a pass rusher (J.J. Watts) with their 1st round draft pick, and made some noteworthy free agent signings (Cincinnati’s CB Jonathan Joseph and Chicago’s FS Daniael Manning). The fact that they changed to a 3-4 this year also doesn’t seem to be an issue, as they’ve only given up 20 points in two games; however, one of those games was against the Kerry Collins-led Colts.

    This game will be a much tougher test for Phillips’ unit than the downward-spiraling Colts or Chad Henne could be. Brees, only two years removed from a Super Bowl MVP title, has a habit of making even good defenses look silly. He’s already thrown three TDs and plenty of yards against both the Packers and Bears, two great defenses, and is capable of much more if necessary. LT Jermon Bushrod will be tested by OLB Mario Williams, but has started respectably enough, giving up only a hit and four pressures against the Packers and Bears combined, all the more impressive considering the pass-rushing talent those teams have. The jury is still out on an upgraded Texans defense eager to erase the painful memories of getting burned early and often last year, but the end of this game will give us a clue as to how far they’ve come.

    3) Matt Schaub
    Even if the two above-mentioned factors go the Texans’ way and the running game continues plowing on while the defense proves to be an improved unit, Schaub will still have to have a good game. Brees and company are just that good, especially at home.

    Just as the defense hasn’t been properly tested yet this season, neither has Schaub. Against a Dolphins’ secondary that gave up over 500 yards to Tom Brady, he threw for a nice, if not extraordinary, 230 yards with two TDs and no picks, finishing with a 118.5 NFL rating. Yet in the week one blow-out against the Colts, he struggled as he threw two picks and finished with a NFL rating of 78.5. If the Texans are indeed a play-off team, Schaub will have to play better and the pressure will be on in this play-off atmosphere.

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    thunderkyss likes this.
  2. Thorn

    Thorn Dirty Old Man

    Apr 14, 2007
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    good read. The Texans have their hands full this week. This will be a good game to show us who they really are.
  3. thunderkyss

    thunderkyss MVP

    Sep 19, 2005
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    agreed. Thanks asleep.
  4. euro-Texan

    euro-Texan All Pro

    Aug 1, 2007
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    Glynco, GA

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