The Houston Texans have now dropped 2 straight and are looking to rebound from a tough loss last week against the Seahawks. After leading most of the game the Texans let the Seahawks back into the game late after a Richard Sherman interception was returned for a TD to tie the game in the 4th quarter. The interception was Schaub’s 6th of the year and his 3rd that was returned for a TD. Now with many fans demanding that the team replace QB Matt Schaub the Texans look to move on and get back to their winning ways against an unfamiliar opponent in the San Francisco 49ers.
Keys on offense:
The Running Game: Arian Foster is coming off his beat performance of the season and I think he’ll keep it up this week against the 49ers. The 49ers beat the Rams this week, but in the previous 2 weeks they lost to teams that ran the ball well. I believe the Texans will see this and use it to their advantage. If the Texans can establish their running attack early it could be a long day for the 49ers defense on Sunday.
Andre Johnson: Johnson is off to a great start this season. He has 34 catches for 368 yards, and had over 100 yards last week against a tough Seahawks secondary. There’s only been 1 game so far this season that Johnson hasn’t had at least 5 catches and at least 75 yards, and he left that game early with a bruised shin. The 49ers like to play man a lot while bringing pressure up front, and if they do this Sunday against the Texans Johnson could have yet another big game. If Johnson has a big game this week the Texans may be able to end their 2 game losing streak and get back over 500.
Keys on defense:
Stopping the run: After last week’s game versus the Seahawks the Texans are now ranked #1 in total defense. The dynamic duo of JJ Watt and Brian Cushing have yet to disappoint this year. Cushing has been all over the field making plays, abs Watt’s been doing the same things that got him the Defensive Player of The Year Award last season… everything. Their metal will be tested this week though with Frank Gore and a very physical offensive line up next for them. The 49ers play much better when they can run the ball effectively as a team. The Texans will have to make it a point to buckle down and force the 49ers to pass the ball in long yardage situations. The more time’s they get those opportunities the more of a chance they have to make some big plays on defense. Whether they’re sacks or interceptions, these plays only come when players attempt to force plays and stopping run will make the 49ers do just that.
Whitney Mercilus: Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips had a plan last week to spy Seahawks QB Russell Wilson most of the game to neutralize the read option. The plan worked too, Mercilus had 2.5 sacks against the Seahawks and was a difference maker on for the D. He’ll have a lot of the same responsibilities this week as the Texans face yet another mobile QB in Colin Kaepernick. Mercilus was lined up in many different spots last week and I’d expect to see a lot more of the same, the more he’s moved the harder it’ll be for the offense identity on every snap. If Mercilus can keep Kaepernick in the pocket this week as effectively as he did against Wilson and the Seahawks the Texans defense should have a great chance at a w this week.