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Jets vs Texans: 5 Questions with Battle Red Blog

We check in with SBN’s Houston Texans site, Battle Red Blog, to get some insight into the 2023 Texans

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The New York Jets lost a close game to the Atlanta Falcons last week, 13 - 8. The loss brought their losing streak to five games and dropped their record on the season to 4-8. Now the Jets take on the surging Houston Texans at home as they play out the string and start to evaluate the team for next season.

The 7-5 Texans started the season losing three of their first five games before turning things around and winning five of their last seven. They are currently in line for a playoff berth. If the Texans make the playoffs this season it would be their first post-season appearance since 2019.

Previewing this matchup, VBallRetired of Battle Red Blog was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the 2023 Houston Texans.

Check out the Q&A below, and be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook for all your betting needs this season.

1. What is the biggest strength and the biggest weakness of this Texans team on offense? What is the biggest strength and the biggest weakness of this Texans team on defense?

On offense, we are clearly a better passing team than running team. The Texans are second in the league in passing yards and Stroud has a wealth of targets to go to. Four different targets have gone over 100 yards receiving at different points this year, so even with Tank Dell out they are still dangerous. This team simply can’t run the football effectively. They keep trying and failing which is a point of frustration for the fans. On defense, DeMeco Ryans has focused on stopping the run and it has worked. We had the worst run defense in my lifetime last year (literally surrendering more rushing yards than any team since 1972). No one will confuse them with the 2000 Ravens, but they have clamped down on the run and forced teams to beat them through the air. That has backfired a few times (most notably against Atlanta) but it has been a recipe for success on most days.

2. Each team’s fanbase knows their team much better than other fans. Usually there are a few guys who your team’s fans know about and love, but other fans might not be too familiar with. Could you let Jets fans know a few unsung heroes on the Texans, if possible at least one on both offense and defense?

On defense, it is an old friend of the Jets Blake Cashman. Last year he was a glorified special teams guy. This year he is one of the five best linebackers in football according to PFF. Everyone knows about Will Anderson and the comparisons between Sauce Gardner and Derek Stingley are unavoidable, but Jimmie Ward has been huge in the secondary. Their defense tends to play much better when he is healthy and effective. On offense I think Dalton Schultz will be the key this week. You mentioned the trio of corners in your answers, so the passing game may stall to the wide receivers, but Schultz is a mismatch on most linebackers and safeties. That could be the area the Texans exploit.

3. Tell us about C.J. Stroud. As the 2nd overall selection in the 2023 NFL draft, expectations were high, but he has gone way beyond what any reasonable expectations could have been prior to the start of the 2023 season. What makes Stroud so good, and what are the areas he maybe could still stand to improve upon?

I think what has impressed me most about Stroud has been the rapid growth from week to week. It is clear that he understands what it means to be a pro and how important preparation is during the week. He rarely ever makes the same mistake twice. In terms of physical skills, he just has an impressive amount of arm talent. He places balls where guys can make the catch and turn up field. In terms of growth, he occasionally allows the rush to swallow him up without throwing the ball away. That has been good for a bad sack or two on average, but some defenses have gotten more than that. He will eventually learn that while he is athletic, he is not as athletic as the Lamar Jacksons and Jalen Hurts of the world.

4. If you were the head coach of a rival team, how would you go about attacking this Houston Texans team on offense and on defense?

On offense I would probably pass on this defense. If you start gashing them early then it could open up the running game down the line. That will be hard for the Jets because of the nature of their quarterback situation, but Desmond Ridder ate this defense alive and he isn’t exactly Johnny Unitas. On defense, you need to apply consistent pressure on Stroud. You cannot allow him five or six seconds to find a target. He can fit balls into tight windows and he has shown he is smart enough to go to the right spot. If you make him make sudden decisions he has shown that he can make mistakes and turn the ball over.

5. If you were a betting man which team would you bet on winning this game, and why?

I’m betting on a Texans win, but I can’t in good conscience give that many points as well. I think a 14-10 type of game is what we can expect. I just don’t see the Jets scoring that much, but I also don’t see how the Texans run it consistently on a good college team much less a defense like the Jets have.