The Texans will welcome the Minnesota Fight Brett Favres, and all of their talent and drama, to Houston as a national audience watches on Monday Night Football. And they better be ready to be tested.
According to Head Coach Gary Kubiak, his starters will play three full quarters against the Vikings tonight. This is partly because it is the third pre-season game, when starters typically play the most, and partly due to their poor performance last week against the Saints. Because of Minnesota's strength's, Houston will be challenged in every part of their game.
The biggest test for Houston will be when they are on offense. Minnesota's defense, especially against the run, holds opposing offenses to numbers you normally only see on an XBOX. Last year, in the regular season, the Vikings held opposing offenses to less than 80 rushing yards a game. This preseason has been more of the same from Minnesota. They are only giving up about 90 yards a game on the ground. Steve Slaton, Chris Brown, and Ryan Moats will need to be at their best. Brown especially needs to step up after his miserable game against New Orleans. The Vikings' defense line is not soft like that of New Orleans, so Houston's backfield will have to work.
Houston's passing game is finally going to see a real defense. Against Kansas City and New Orleans it was a free-for-all in the air. It did not matter who was throwing or catching the ball, Houston was able to move their offense down the field at will. Minnesota will test that. They are leading the league in pass defense this pre-season, giving up only 128 yards a game. They did an impressive job containing the Colts' passing game (even though Peyton Manning only threw two passes), but gave up 208 passing yards to the Chiefs. The Chiefs' passing game is not near as good as the Texans', so I would expect Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and company to do the testing.
On defense the Texans should expect to see a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson. They have proven in their first two pre-season games that they can't stop the run, especially straight up the middle. When teams avoid the Texans' defensive ends, Mario Williams and Antonio Smith, they have success running the ball. That being said, they should be better against the pass than they have been. The Vikings don't have a top flight receiver like Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe or New Orleans' Marques Colston. Also, Brett Favre is not nearly has young or mobile as Drew Brees or KC's quarterbacks. Williams and the rest of the D-Line, especially Smith and emerging star Connor Barwin, should be able to pin their ears back and get after whoever is under center.
As Smith said, “Defensive linemen dream of sacking quarterbacks like Brett Favre.”
Note: According to ESPN, Brett Favre has told the Monday Night Football crew he has a cracked rib, but he is not on the injury report. Maybe that's why he was one-hopping his throws last week.
Minnesota is going to be the Texans' toughest test of the pre-season. Hopefully they will perform.
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.