After dropping 3 straight games the Houston Texans are back at home this week facing off against the St. Louis Rams. Last week the Texans were blown out by the 49ers in a sloppily played game 34-3, and are hoping to get back on the winning track this week. The Texans 3 current 3 game losing streak is the longest the teams had since making the playoffs for the first time 2 years ago, and if they don’t win the game this week they’ll already have as many losses as they had all last season. A win this week is practically a must for this Texans team now chasing both the Colts and Titans for the lead in the AFC South, a division they’ve won 2 straight years now.
Keys for the offense:
Matt Schaub: Now under more scrutiny than he’s ever seen since becoming the starting QB for the Texans Matt Schaub must put together a turnover free game to help his team win this week. Schaub has thrown an INT in every game this season, and has a streak of 4 straight games with an INT returned for TD. After throwing a INT that got returned on his first pass last week against the 49ers bad ending the game with a total of 3 many questioned whether or not he’d continue as the starter for the Texans. These questions were answered quickly after the game when HC Gary Kubiak said of Schaub “he’s our QB.” If Schaub can keep the ball in the hands of his own teammates, he’ll give the Texans and their #1 defense a better chance at a win.
Arian Foster: Foster had yet another good game last week against the 49ers. His carries were down because the Texans were playing from behind most of the game, but when he got carries he produced. With the way Matt Schaub has struggled I wouldn’t be surprised to see Foster have 25+ touches in this game. The last time Foster got more than 25 touches in a game he had 171 total yards and a TD receiving. If Arian Foster has another game like that, the Rams will have their hands full on Sunday in Houston.
Keys to defense:
Pressure Sam Bradford: Playing a Rams team that has a leading rusher with only 162 yards and no rushing TD’s, the Texans must make it a priority to disrupt the passing pocket this week. I’m expecting a big game from DE JJ Watt this week. Rams QB Sam Bradford hasn’t been sacked in 2 straight games but was sacked 6 times in a game by the Cowboys before that streak started. If the Texans are able to jump out to an early lead it may enable them to be more aggressive going after the QB. Along with Watt I expect to see some of Antonio Smith and Whitney Mercilus chasing down Bradford on Sunday.
Containing Jared Cook: TE Jared Cook is a mismatch against mostly any team he plays. He’s too big to be covered by CB’s and too quick for LB’s. But as Bradford’s favorite target and the Rams leader in receiving yards, the Texans will have to find a way to limit his production on Sunday. Texans DC Wade Phillips will probably rotate safeties Daniel Manning, DJ Swearinger, and Ed Reed on him in man coverage situations. It’ll be a big test for this Texans D that boasts the league’s best pass defense.