The Texans are in uncharted waters again being 2-0 and heading into the hostile environment on Sunday, known as the Superdome, home the New Orleans Saints. This will be a good test for the #1 defense in the NFL to matchup against the #5 total offense in the league and something is going to have to give. This could be a big lift for the Texans if they can get out of New Orleans with a victory, but it will not be an easy task.
There are 6 players for the Texans that will play a vital role in the outcome of the game, and if they play up to what we know they can, a win might be in the making and the franchises first ever 3-0 start.
Eric Winston- I have may be a little hard on Winston's play in the first two weeks with his holdings, false starts and sacks given up. He can put that all to rest with a good game against one of the most aggressive defenses in the NFL. Winston has to be able to do his part to keep Matt Schaub on his feet to give enough time to get the ball into other Texans' hands. Winston can erase what has been two sub par games with a good showing on Sunday, the previous games were not put under a microscope because the Texans pulled out two wins. If he plays like he did in the first two games in a loss, you can expect some serious criticism with his current play.
NFL Tracker: Texans Activate Three Players For First Padded Practice
Houston Texans Free Agency Tracker for 2021: Check back often as we keep you up-to-date on Texans NFL news as Houston works on its roster-building
'Bigger, Faster, Stronger': Justin Reid Committed to Better 2021
After an admittedly down season, the Houston Texans' safety is embracing defensive coordinator Lovie Smith's new system
Texans Camp Notebook: Secondary Looking For Clean Break
The Texans secondary could be a point of emphasis for the next several weeks.
Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell- I put these two together because too me they are one in the same. Cody and Mitchell have to control the middle and take up blockers to keep them off of DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing. They don't have to make an impact play, but that would be nice, they have to play within themselves and hold the line of scrimmage. They are going up against some "beef" in Jahari Evans, Olin Kreutz and Carl Nicks which all are big lineman considered to our nose tackles. Cody and Mitchell's ability to control the line of scrimmage could prove big on Sunday.
Matt Schaub- His ability to control the pace of the game will be important, especially the Saints aggressive defense. Even though Schaub doesn't call the "audible" at the line for the offense, he has to make quick decisions to control the Saints blitz packages. A good running game will help stop the Saints from being too aggressive, but Schaub is going to have to have another turnover free game to give the Texans a chance to win. He makes the offense go and if he can get the ball into the Texans playmakers hands then it can put the Texans in position for an upset road victory.
James Casey- He is going to be the blitz beater along with Owen Daniels, but when Casey motions out of the backfield it will make the Saints adjust on the fly. If they don't Casey will become the hot read and might be primed for a big day. Casey has brought so much to the offense in the sense of more wrinkles, but this is why they moved him, to lineup as a fullback, tight end or a wide receiver. Gary Kubiak has done a great job of using Casey to put pressure on the defense and get the matchups he wants, Casey opens up so much field for Schaub to work with.
DeMeco Ryans- Ryans still seems to be fighting to get into shape, and the Texans need to be careful they are not hurting themselves as a team with him out there. His leadership is unmatched, but he still has to produce on the field. He didn't have an awful game against the Dolphins just because he didn't have a big "stat" day. He took on lead blockers but he did miss some key tackles in the backfield. I don't think it is time to have a big concern with his level of play, but it is time for Ryans to show he is slowly gaining his strength and speed.
Johnathan Joseph- He might be the best defensive player for the Texans, and that was evident on what happen against the Dolphins when he came out of the game with an ankle injury. Joseph's ability to take away half the field playing man coverage allows the Texans to help on the other side with Kareem Jackson. The defense is so much better with him on the field and there is a reason why he got his big payday in Houston and last Sunday was proof. Look for him to be matched up against Robert Meacham or Devery Henderson, and which ever of the two gets going early, expect Joseph to be covering him for the rest of the game.