The New Orleans Saints will travel to Houston to face the Texans in their third, and most important, preseason game. The starters will see work for the majority of the game, and who better to go against than the Super Bowl contending Texans. Here are three matchups to look forward to this week.
1) Charles Brown vs Various Pass Rushers
The Texans tout one of the better defenses and a good set of pass rushers. This will be a good test for Charles Brown, who recently locked up the starting left tackle position. Brown will see a variety of looks from defensive guru Wade Phillips who, similar to the Saint’s own Rob Ryan, uses many exotic blitz packages out of the 3-4 base. To execute Phillips’ game plan, the Texans have speed rushers Brooks Reid and Brian Cushing as well as power rushers like Whitney Mercilus and, of course JJ Watt. This will be a good test for Brown, who will be depended on by the Saints to protect Brees’ blindside.
2) Jabari Greer, Keenan Lewis vs Andre Johnson, Deandre Hopkins
Up to this point, the Saints corners have done a good job limiting the production of outside receivers. However, the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs don’t really have any prolific downfield threats, or a quarterback that can really exploit a secondary down the field.
The Texans will be different. The duo of veteran Andre Johnson and rookie Deandre Hopkins make the Texans wide receiving corps one of the scarier and more explosive combinations to contend with. This presents a tough matchup for the Saints’ corners. Despite the overall negative view of the defense, the Saints do boast one of the better cornerback duos in the league with Jabari Greer and free agent acquisition Keenan Lewis. Both guys are very underrated, but they can prove to be a strength on a defense that really needs one; and this will be their first of many tests this season.
3) Jahri Evans vs JJ Watt
Finally, we cannot talk about the Texans without talking about Watt, the 2012 Defensive Player of the year. Watt, listed as a defensive end, lines up everywhere, especially inside. Luckily for the Saints, the inside is where 6-foot-4, 318-pound, Jahri Evans resides. Evans Is one of the best guards in the league and makes All Pro Teams and Pro Bowls seemingly every season. He will be matched up with Watt a good bit and it will be interesting to see this power struggle plays out. Obviously, neither have anything to prove to their coaches, but from a pure football standpoint, this is great matchup to watch.