If you like drama, if you like action, if you like suspense, if you like a good plot with a couple of intriguing sub-plots, you’re gonna love today’s Texans-Redskins’ game. This match-up could very well end up being what the Cowboys’ game last week wasn’t – a thriller in which both teams play to their strengths and slug it out without messin’ up more than they step up. What is it T.O. likes to say? Get your popcorn ready!
Houston is loaded on offense and solid enough on defense to disrupt almost any opponent’s offense. Washington is loaded on defense and talented enough offensively to give most defenses serious trouble on a good day. But the real skinny is this – the Texans play 8 of their remaining games after today at home, while the ‘Skins will be on the road for 8 of their remaining games. That doesn’t mean today’s game is ultra-important for the ’Skins. It does, however, mean this game is valuable for them in spite of the fact Houston is a non-conference opponent. Winning at home is the bedrock of sports success.
Washington has this week and next to tune up its offense, especially its passing game, before facing the meat of its first-half schedule: at Philly, home to Green Bay & Indy, and at Chicago. The only catch is, the Texans aren’t the team you want to be playing when you’re badly in need of a tune-up. If you’re not real careful, they’ll tune you up. So, you want to play somewhat conservatively and run the ball, but you need to establish your passing game early enough to keep them from stacking the box. Five yard passes won’t do that. You’ve got to throw downfield, and you’ve got to take some deep shots to Moss and Galloway.
As for how either team might win … The Redskins have to be prepared for anything. They’ll have to play a fairly honest defense, only gambling when they’re 90% sure they know what’s coming. Of course, you know Haslett won’t do that if the Redskins get behind. He may not anyway. The problem is, Schaub’s accuracy will kill them if their timing’s off. The Texans would do well to play a balanced defense, as well, but I believe they’ll stack the box early and keep stacking it until the ‘Skins may them pay for doing so.
Notice I’ve put the onus on the defenses. We know what Houston can do when it has the ball – gobble up yards in chunks. McNabb and Company is an enigma – I doubt even Shanahan & Son know how dependable the passing game will be this season. That’s the beauty of this year’s schedule – the ‘Skins have today and next Sunday to find that out before Number 5 is reunited with his adoring fans and friendly x-colleagues at The Linc.
Today isn’t a must win. Then again, why put off ’till tomorrow what you can do today? Better yet, why risk going into next week having little confidence in your passing game, regardless of whether the issue is miscommunication between the quarterback and the receivers, or wide-outs who still aren’t quite used to the speed of McNabb’s, uh, passes? (‘Balls’ popped into my head first. But, this is a family show as the saying goes.) Next week’s practices at Redskins’ Park will be so much more fun and productive if the ‘Skins play up to their under-rated talent level. I believe they will. And, I believe Kyle Shanahan knows Houston’s defense well enough to game-plan effectively for it.
Washington 30, Houston 23.