Houston Texans Vs. New York Giants: What To Look For


The Houston Texans excelled once again, breezing through Week 2 with ease as they gave the Oakland Raiders a nice shellacking to defeat them 30-14.

There were lots of notable performances this week and it all seemed to be a concerted effort to power the team to a win.

It seems that this team is well-coached and the contrasts between a Bill O’Brien and Gary Kubiak team are evident.

This team seemed to keep the pedal to the metal and did not relent, unlike Kubiak’s style when the team would have a lead.

In past seasons, that same formula caused the team to lose leads and play from behind likely losing the game.

O’Brien’s tendencies are so similar to Bill Belichick’s it’s scary but I actually like it.  It’s something this team has needed for a long time.

I’ll stop short of referring to our team as “Patriots South” but we’re doing things a lot like they do.  As long as it translates to wins on the board, I’m all for it, whatever it takes.

This week, the Houston Texans head up north to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants, who are 0-2 and are increasingly hungry for a win.  They were sucker-punched last week by the Arizona Cardinals 25-14.

At the end of the game, a zero will not be a part of a team’s record, so here’s some things to look for as the Texans take the field:

QUARTERBACKRyan Fitzpatrick has been really good this season.  All of the things that he needed to work on as a quarterback, he has done so.  He is not throwing the ball the ball as much as he been and when he does, he is likely accurate on the throw.  He only has 45 pass attempts so far this season — the lowest amount in the league.  He seems to know when to hurl or when to hand-off.  The Texans were 9-for-15 in regard to third-down efficiency and that’s definitely attested to the high-level of QB play.  Fitz went 14-for-19 for 139 yards, for two touchdowns and no picks in last week’s contest against the Raiders.  I expect Fitz to have another solid, accurate game as the Giants aren’t as good as defending the pass.  Eli Manning will be interesting to watch as he works to improve himself from last season — likely the worst of his career.  He threw for a record 27 interceptions, the most of his career and the most for a QB last year.  He actually even cracked the Top 20 of all-time list in terms of the number of picks for a QB in a season.  He is starting out a bit shaky once again but did see some marked improvement last week against the Cardinals.

RUNNING BACK:  All eyes will be on Arian Foster.  He has been limited all this week in practice as he tries to recover from a hamstring injury he sustained.  He’s been carrying the ball a lot (55 yards) and racking up a lot of yardage (241) so it was a matter of time before it took a toll on his body.  The Giants are a lot better in defending the run — ranked 12th giving up 100 yards per game — so I don’t see Foster having the type of monster game that he has had thus far.  I would not be surprised to see if his workload is cut between 25 to 50 percent to allow backups Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and Ronnie Brown some more time carrying the football.  If Foster isn’t a go, then expect Blue to be the No. 1 running back in his stead.  Rashad Jennings is their top running back and you better believe the six-year vet is going to do everything he can to help his team win!  But the Giants offense has been tepid at best so I don’t see him as much of a threat.  The defensive line will take care of him.

More from Houston Texans

WIDE RECEIVERAndre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins look like they’re having fun out on the field on each side.  Johnson will catch a few and Hopkins will catch a few, usually throwing in a touchdown or two.  Fitz has been able to target them well — Johnson already has 12 receptions for 167 yards this season, Hopkins has caught seven balls for 111 yards.  That’s 13.9 and 15.9 yards per catch respectively.  Extremely productive!  Damaris Johnson continues to be the dark horse at the slot that is good for a few receptions as well, expect him to be used in spot situations to throw defenses off.  Let’s not forget Victor Cruz who remains one of the best wide outs in the league — talent-wise — but his numbers are way down from past seasons.  He only has eight receptions for 74 yards with a few drops in tow.  He even so much as said that he needs more touches as part of the cure-all for their struggling offense.  He has yet to score touchdown so far this season — so much doing his signature salsa move in the end zone!  As a consequence, I assign the Texans the task of making sure that doesn’t happen!

OFFENSIVE LINE:  I haven’t talked about this unit all season but they deserve to be praised.  They’re the main reason why the Texans have seen such success offensively.  Think about it.  Foster has had nice holes to run through to get the yards he has been racking up and Fitz has not been sacked once this season.  This unit is doing a stellar job of protecting him.  Ben Jones was all over the place last week protecting the offense, he’d limp a bit then jump back into the game.  He blocked for Foster’s five-yard touchdown run and for Johnson’s 20-yard catch in the third quarter, his largest of the game.  That’s the fire I’ve been looking for!  The O-Line had been non-existent up until this point so it’s good to see some relevancy once again.  Duane Brown, Derek Newton, Brandon Brooks are all playing at a top-notch level to ensure success.  And Xavier Su’a-Filo is still on the bench!  The sky’s the limit for this bunch and I expect them to do well once again because the most serious threat to the line is the talents of Jason Pierre-Paul who will be as invisible as a MACK truck.

And there you have it!

Kickoff is scheduled for noon Sunday.  The game will be broadcast on CBS and will be broadcast on 610 SportsRadio AM/100.3 (KILT).