The preseason is over. The real games start this week. For Houston, it was a quiet offseason until they signed Matt Leinart (not sure why), who had no other options. I believe Ward will help the Texans backfield, where the Texans run game was ranked 30th in the league at 92.2 yards per game. Arian Foster is poised to have a big year after averaging 4.8 yards per carry in 54 attempts. Holding on to the ball was a problem for Slaton last year but it was due to a nagging injury, so the run game, which has to improve and take pressure off of Schaub, should be somewhat better this year.
The Houston Texans are the proud owners of the best wide receiver in the NFL in Andre Johnson and a top 5 quarterback in Matt Schaub, which translates into the best passing attack in the league. At tight end, Owen Daniels was having a solid year until he tore his ACL. Having Daniels back will be a nice lift. Over all, the offense should be just as good as last season; hopefully with an improved run game.
Now for the defense. With Brian Cushing suspended for the first four games of the season, the defense will be counting on DeMeco Ryans and Zac Diles to pick up the slack. Of course, Mario Williams should still be a monster coming off the edge and Pollard is motivated to to bring a killer instinct to the team. I see the defense having a solid year especially once Cushing comes back.
On Sunday the Texans open up the season, hosting the Colts. The Colts bring in the 2nd best passing attack and the 32nd ranked rushing game from last year. That sets Sunday up to be the air show of the year(until they meet later in the year), which should favor the Texans. The only problem is that Houston has only beaten Indy once since 2001 and not since Christmas Eve of 2006. On the good side, the Texans only lose by a touchdown or less so it shouldn’t take a miracle to beat the Colts.
Keys to victory:
1. Pressure on Peyton. If Mario Williams can get to Peyton Manning and put him on his back with the ball in his hands then it might not be that close of a game.
2. Establish the run. Let Arian prove he can contribute and hopefully he can help open up some play-action and keep Peyton on the sidelines.
3. Neil Rackers. After beating out the only kicker the franchise has ever known, Neil better be ready to hit a meaningful kick, ’cause it might come down to that with how close these games usually are.
We’ll see what happens. My guess, 33-24 Texans.
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Written by Jon Lopez