The Texans host the Saints tonight in what should be a shoot-out between two offenses that were ranked in the top 3 in the NFL last year.
After a week of heated practices the Saints and Texans will do it for real tonight, at least pre-season real. Last year the teams met in a high scoring pre-season affair that the Texans won 31-27. Here are a few things to look for in tonight's game:
Offense, Offense, and more Offense: At least for the first quarter and a half. Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak says his first team offense will be in the game for about 25 plays, which is about twice as many as last week against the Chiefs. This translates to about a quarter and a half of football.
The Saints had the no. 1 ranked offense in the NFL last year, while the Texans ranked 3rd. Last year the Saints led the league in points scored, total offense, and passing offense. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for the second-highest number of yards in a season in NFL history, with 5,069. With WR's Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem, and RB's Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, Brees has all of his weapons back from last year, and there is no reason to think the Saints offense is going to slow down.
This leads to my second thing to watch…
Big Tests for the Texans Defense: Especially the secondary. The secondary is still minus Jacques Reeves and Dunta Robinson. Current starter Fred Bennett and rookies Brice McCain and Glover Quin will have their hands full with 6' 5″ Marques Colston and the rest of the Saints receivers. Last week they did an ok job against the Chiefs, but they didn't have to face Dwayne Bowe, who had been demoted to 3rd string.
Last week the Texans front seven played very well and was able to get lots of pressure on the Chiefs quarterbacks. Granted, that was against an offense which is cutting its teeth with a new quarterback, a new coordinator, and a new head coach. The defensive line played very well. Young defensive end Connor Barwin and defensive tackle Frank Okam got noticed with their good play.
The concern on the front seven is the depth at linebacker. Rookie Brian Cushing, slated to start on the strong side is out and expected to miss another week. Back-up veteran Cato June broke his forearm in practice this week and will miss 6-8 weeks. Reserve Chaun Thompson is “iffy” to play this week. That means after current starters DeMeco Ryans, Zac Diles, and Xavier Adibi, the reserves are Buster Davis, undrafted rookie Toddrick Verdell, and seven-year vet Khary Campbell who was signed off the street this week.
The Heat: And I don't mean the weather in Houston. For the second year in a row, fighting broke out during the joint Saints/Texans practices. DeMeco Ryans and Jeremy Schockey were involved in the most high-profile scuffle, and tempers have been running high between the teams since Wednesday morning. Texans fullback Vonta Leach said there is nothing personal between the teams, but that the Saints were taking cheap shots during practice. It should make for a great hard hitting game.
Like Ryans said, “It gets us more pumped up to go out and play Saturday.”
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.