WATCH: 3 Things to know about the Falcons' Week 5 opponent -- Houston Texans
The Atlanta Falcons will visit the Houston Texans aiming to end a couple different losing streaks. The Falcons have lost their last two games overall and 12 of the last 13 against AFC opponents.
Most importantly, though, the Falcons are trying to avoid falling into a 1-4 hole to begin the year. But picking up their second win won't be easy, as the Texans present several concerns and potential matchup problems. Here are three things Atlanta fans should know heading into Week 5.
After four games, the Texans defense is ranked 23rd in rushing yards allowed per attempt, but that's misleading because the Saints averaged 7.0 yards per carry in Week 1. Since then, the Houston defense has been very stout against the run. Last week, the Texans allowed Christian McCaffrey to post just 3.4 yards per rush.
However, McCaffrey still had a huge day, as he led the team in rushing and receiving behind 37 touches. He accounted for 179 of Carolina's 297 total yards.
Houston's secondary shouldn't give the Falcons as many problems as the Titans did a week ago, but Atlanta must still find ways to slow down the Houston pass rush that is averaging more than 3.0 sacks per game. The best way to do that is getting the backs involved in both the running and short-passing games. Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith will probably have to have big days for Atlanta to win.
Secondly, the Falcons front-seven appears to have another favorable matchup. It did last week against the Titans offensive line and failed to take advantage. Houston traded for left tackle Laremy Tunsil just before the season, but the Texans have still allowed 18 sacks through four games.
Dan Quinn must find a way to generate a pass rush this week or his coaching seat may get even warmer next week.
Part of why the Texans give up a ton of sacks is the quarterback Deshaun Watson's style of play. He holds onto the ball a long time looking for big plays down the field. It's no different than how Russell Wilson or even Ben Roethlisberger, although not as athletic, played early in their careers. With that style of quarterback, your passing game is feast or famine.
What it means for the Falcons secondary, though, is if the pass rush isn't getting to Watson, they will have to hold their coverage for four, five and even six seconds. That's not ideal for a secondary that has been torn to shreds at times early this season.
Atlanta's best path to victory is involving their running backs early and often, play a more ball-control style to protect their defense and then exploit the weak right-side of the Texans offensive line. It would also help if Desmond Trufant had a big bounce back game while covering Deandre Hopkins. Watson is probably going to hit a couple big plays, but keeping them to a minimum will be a major key to victory.