This week the Redskins had a huge win over the Cowboys. However, the Texans had a bigger win versus the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. The Texans appear to be on a roll, and now looks like a good time for them to begin making a move in the AFC South.
To offer perspective, I had Mike Kerns offer some insight as the Texans are the team he covers.
1.Will the familiarity of the coaches on both sides tip an advantage to another?
I think the play calling is going to be so different with Rick Dennison as the Texans new offensive coordinator and an actual legit running game that it will be a wash. Baby Shan (as we called him while here) will make some play calls that will have you guys thinking he’s the next Mike Martz and then the next play will have you thinking he is Lane Kiffin (i.e. The Halfback Option pass against Jacksonville last year). But with the different personnel in D.C. than in Houston, I don’t expect any plays to be “tipped.” Personally, I think this belief of former coaches and players is just that; a myth.
2. With Washington’s difficulty so far in defending the run and Arian Forster’s breakout game last week, will the Texas continue riding the hot hand or will we see more of a vertical passing game?
I think Houston will certainly try. But I think there is no way he has the same success this week as last. I mean, how ofter to 231 yard rushing games happen? Especially in back to back weeks. Plus, the Texans passing game is quite potent, so I expect a more balanced mix than last week. Especially if Houston isn’t playing with a lead.
3. The Redskins ground game struggled to take off last Sunday versus the Cowboys. How will the Texans look to contain the Skins, whose leading rusher last week was Clinton Portis for on 63 yards?
The weakness of the Texans defense is their secondary. They are starting a rookie (Kareem Jackson) and a second year guy (Glover Quin) at the corners. Peyton manning did have over 400 yards passing last Sunday. So this could be the game where McNabb looks to stretch his legs in the passing attack. Houston has been pretty good against the run ever since week 4 of last season. So I think they will rely on Mario Williams and company to apply a consistent pass rush to help out the secondary and dare Washington to run the ball.
4. Does the Redskins 3-4 defense concern the Texans? Likewise are they any match-up the Texans want to exploit or key-in on?
I won’t lie, 3-4 defenses have had some success against Houston. The Jets game from last year and the Baltimore game from 2008 (Two of the teams biggest ass kickings) are truth to this. Obviously, Brian Orakpo needs to be contained. Duane Brown gave up a sack to Dwight Freeney last week and before the team went to running on every play, they were getting consistent heat on Matt Schaub. When Schaub gets protection from his offensive line, he can shred any secondary. But under constant pressure he looks Tony Romo bad out there (as a Skins fan, I’m sure you can appreciate any Cowboys bashing). I think they will continue to use the run to set up the pass and keep the Washington blitz honest.
5. Who wins and why?
Usually, after a win like the one against the Colts last Sunday, Houston will historically follow it up by laying an egg the next week. But something about the team just seems different this year. Most years they would still be celebrating the win over the Colts. But even before they left the field Sunday, they were very vocal about how this is just one in sixteen games and their focus will now shift to D.C.. So I am sticking with my original prediction that Houston wins this game, 24-13.
Mike Kerns’ work can be found at http://dontmesswiththetexans.com.