To start the season the Houston Texans face off against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. The Texans are eager to get this season under way. Coming off a year that ended with them being eliminated by the Patriots in a lopsided loss, the Texans are looking to put that behind them and open this year with a win.
The Texans are going to start the regular season with almost all their key players perfectly healthy on both sides of the ball. RB Arian Foster may be the exception. Foster didn’t play the whole preseason because of back pain and a strained calf. He’s now closing in on being 100% and may get a full work load on Monday. Foster, a native of the San Diego area will be looking to have big game on Monday. Going against a defensive unit in San Diego that was able to create turnovers last season I’m sure the Texans offensive gamelan will be to establish the run to set up their play action plays. I expect to see TE Owen Daniels being targeted early if he’s defended by LB’s. Daniels is a big mismatch when the Texans play action bootlegs are working. His combination of speed and good route running makes him an easy target to hit. Along with Daniels both Texans WR’s Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins could have good games. The Chargers untested secondary may not be up to the challenge of stopping the duo.
On defense the Texans will be doing what they do best, rushing the QB. Wade Phillips likes to blitz often and early. I expect him to bring the heat against a Chargers O line that has shown it has a hard time protecting their QB. Texans DE JJ Watt is looking to have an even better season than he did last year, when he won the Defensive Player of The Year award. I expect him to really be a menace on the field. Not just for the QB but also on run plays. If the Chargers manage to keep two guys on Watt expect to hear the names of some others on Monday night. Earl Mitchell and Whitney Mercilus both come to mind. Mitchell, the new NT for the Texans has shown great quickness and awareness already in his limited preseason action. Mercilus sat out the preseason but is now ready to go. After leading the nation in sacks in 2011 he was drafted late in the 1st round and notched 6 sacks as a rookie. He’s looking to improve upon that and become the Texans pass rushing presence off the edge. Texans secondary should be okay in this game with the Chargers WR core plagued with injury. Never the less All Pro S Ed Reed has made a speedy recovery from an offseason hip surgery and is now a game time decision for the Monday Night game. If Reed does play I believe he’ll be a difference maker out there. If Phillip Rivers doesn’t keep an eye on where no.20 is I bet he’ll regret it.