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We take a look ahead to the game between the 4-0 Houston Texans and the 2-2 New York Jets
The game against the San Francisco 49'ers was a tough one to watch, unfortunately we head back to the same field against one of the best teams in the NFL Monday night in the 4-0 Houston Texans. Houston is enjoying its best start to a season in franchise history and they are doing it behind a balanced offence and a solid defence. They are averaging a league best 31.5 points a game and allowing a AFC best 273 yards a game which includes only 182.8 yards a game through the air.
The problem with facing the Texans offence is it is completely balanced. You have an efficient quarterback (66.9% completion with 7 touchdowns to the 1 interception) and a poignant running attack of Arian Foster and Ben Tate who are both putting the work in on the ground, the last time the Jets faced Foster in 2010 he had 143 total yards and two scores. They have one of the best receivers in the league in Andre Johnson who can hurt you on every route of the route-tree and a tight end that can be impossible to cover in Daniels.
Unfortunately in previous years the downfall of the Texans was always it's defence, well not any more. As mentioned above the Texans are leading the AFC in yards allowed per game and this is behind pass-rushing dynamo J.J Watt who has already racked up 7 1/2 sacks this season (Mario Who?). If you look at all the team statistics, well the Texans are at the top or near the top in pretty much every single one.
So what about the Jets? well we all know that we will be without Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis for the rest of the season. Unfortunately that's just something that we are going to have to deal with, you can't replace those two players. It also looks likely that both Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill will miss out as they attend the Hamstring rehabilitation club again this week. Pouha is looking questionable and so is Bart Scott.
I read this morning that Eric Mangini said that in 2006 they went really hard for Matt Schaub, to a point where they offered John Abraham for him straight up, even though he had made only two starts. Unfortunately for the Jets organization we didn't get Schaub, fortunately for the Jets organization we did trade him to Atlanta anyway and ended up using the first round pick to select Nick Mangold.....so a question mid preview Jets fans, who would you rather have? Nick Mangold or Matt Schaub?
The Jets will need to find a way to move the football. Tony Sparano will really need to come up with some ways to keep the pass rush of the Texans off balance, some draw plays, swing plays, screen plays. I don't want to see a power play off right or left guard with Greene falling over after 2 yards. If we continue to put ourselves in 3rd and long in this game we may as well go home at half time, you don't win against the Texans by putting yourself in that position. The Texans have the best defence in getting off the field on 3rd down, so we need to make the early downs count.
One area that worries me to no end in this game, Matt Shaub vs our Secondary. Last week I saw Kyle Wilson get frozen on play action time and time again and the 49'ers receivers were getting behind him with ease on the double move. Alex Smith is a game manager but he is not a difference maker, Schaub is and if his receivers get behind Wilson like the 49'ers did, then he will be hitting them in stride all day. Without Revis our secondary includes some turn and run cover corners, but no elite or good talent outside Cromartie, this is an important match-up.
What we need to do is get to the Texans early and put some points on the board in the first quarter to really get the crowd going. If we can do that then we have a chance. Unfortunately although I am an optimist, I'm also a realist. Houston has one of the most balanced teams in the league, there isn't anything they don't do well. They play the pass well, we probably don't have 3 of our top 4 offensive weapons. They throw the ball well and we don't have our cover corner.
Unfortunately I only see this game going one way. I'm going 27-10 to the Texans. Lets hope I'm wrong.