This weeks hometown team takes on a Miami Dolphins team that is 0-5 against the Houston Texans and look to give the star studded South Beach ownership an investment they can be proud of. However, Houston is 5-0 all-time vs. the Dolphins, their most wins against a non-divisional opponent but also on a six game road losing streak going back to last year.
It remains to be seen as to which team will snap which streak. In order for the Houston Texans to snap their own road losing streak and keep their winning streak against the Dolphins alive the team will have to perform these five things with some regard of diligence.
Have 30+ Rush Attempts
Coming into last week the Texans were 23-3 when rushing for 30+ times under Coach Gary Kubiak. Houston fans can add one more victory to that stat line and they did it without work horse Arian Foster. After last weeks win agasint the Indianapolis Colts in which the Texans rushed the ball 41 times the team is 24-3 when rushing over 30+ times, on top of that stat line Houston also expects Foster to play in this Sundays game against the Dolphins.
More carries tend to translate to possession time being greater than that of the opposing teams time of possession. Keeping the ball out of the hands of a Miami Dolphins team that proved to be able to accumulate both yards and points Monday against the Patriots is key.
The Miami Dolphins have lost the last five home games so some skeptics will argue that the odds and a home win are due for the Dolphins. This makes possessing the ball via the run game a necessity.
Attack The Miami Secondary
Most everyone is familiar with Tom Brady’s 500+ passing performance against the Dolphins defense, namely the Dolphins secondary. With little pass rush from the Dolphins and until the issue is addressed the Miami secondary will continue to be a focus amongst game planning when facing the Miami Dolphins. Coach Kubiak’s offensive game plan should be no different. Establishing the run game early with a nice mix of both the run and play action pass plays will continue to keep the Dolphins on their heels.
While it’s vital for the Texans to be able to run the ball, the team also needs to attack the weakness of it’s opponent. After last weeks passing performance by Tom Brady it would seem that one of the Dolphins weakness is definitely it’s secondary.
Limit Miami’s Offensive Production
The Miami Dolphins had 488 yards of total offense vs. the New England Patriots this last Monday night. The Dolphins are coming off a short week to face the Texans. One advantage the Dolphins have is they drew Houston at home. The Texans defense, the very defense that seems to be drinking the Wade Phillips kool-aid, will need to limit that production if the Texans expect to fly home with a 2-0 record.
Houston’s defensive numbers from last week tied for 1st in points allowed, 5th in both rushing yards allowed and total yards allowed. As expected the Houston secondary bent but didn’t break. Yielding only one passing touchdown last week after defending on a short field the defense currently ranks 9th against the pass. 9th against the pass is also largely due in part to the Indianapolis Colts playing from behind the entire game and needing to throw the ball in order to catch-up. The Houston Texans are far from a great team but there is no question the team is better than last years team.
These are huge improvements over last years stats through week one in which the Texans gave up 463 yards and 25 points to a Peyton Manning equipped Colts team.
Avoid the Sluggish Second Half
Two years ago the Texans were beating the Dolphins 27-3 at half time and as is the Texans’ usual M.O. were outscored 20-0 in the last 31 minutes of the game. That performance was at the hands of a very young QB in Chad Henne and Henne is much better now than he was then and has a better receiving core than he had then as well. Last week the Texans scored 34 first half points only to not put up a single point in the second half. Houston needs to avoid that same second half offensive output this week if at all possible.
The Houston Texans remain the only team the Miami Dolphins have yet to beat in their storied franchise history. The Dolphins will be fired up for this game and in a hostile environment the Texans will have to limit mistakes, capitalize when in the red zone, and keep up the pace set from the onset. Not hitting on all cylinders for the entire game could end up being costly.
Last week the Texans turned it over three times to an Indianapolis Colts team that was unable to take advantage of the opportunities. The Texans may not be as lucky if they turn the ball over that many times this week. Miami has obtained talented playmakers at key skill positions on the offensive side of the ball so limiting Miami’s opportunities with the ball will be key and avoiding turnovers will only support the effort.
The Texans have lost six straight road games and look to snap that streak, only ball security will get the job done down on South Beach.
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