Houston Texans fans know how important this game is for the team. A win this Sunday would propel us to a 3-0 start, which would be the first in team history. It would also solidify our dominance of the AFC South this season. However, the Saints are not the toothless Colts or the baby-faced Dolphins. Drew Brees and company will be sure to give our defense a true test of its grit and determination.
Keith Null, of the New Orleans Saints‘ Whodatdish, displays his “confidence” in the Saints. The following are the questions that I submitted to Keith and his replies to those answers.
The Texans held their own against the Saints in week two of the preseason. How do you see this game comparing to our preseason match-up?
As ugly as that preseason loss was it’s nothing to get overly excited or nervous about in this regular season matchup. The Saints chose to play a very vanilla brand of offense/defense, and were using a variety of substitutions from the very first snap to try and determine the most potent combination of players. The team that the Texans face Sunday will be nothing like what they faced in the preseason. New Orleans is tough to beat at home in the Superdome and I expect a very good game from the Saints on both sides of the ball.
With some of your key defensive players missing practice (T. Porter and J. Vilma) how do you see the Saints game-planning for the Texans?
The plan won’t change whether the defense comes out with Porter and Vilma in the lineup or their backups. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will still run his aggresive, blitzing scheme. With that said I expect Porter to suit up Sunday as he has been practicing with no setbacks over the last several days. Vilma’s availibility is more clouded, but I have a hard time believing he will actually be scratched for this game.
With the Texans’ newly improved 3-4 defense do you think that Drew Brees will be able to put up numbers as good as he did last week against the Bears?
Brees is hard to stop, whether you throw the kitchen sink at him or drop everyone into coverage, he will find a way to get the ball down field. Allot has been made of the Texans first ranked pass defense, but the level of competition over the last two weeks has to be questioned. Kerry Collins and Chad Henne are not elite quarterbacks in this league. Flipping the question I think it becomes how well will the Texans 3-4 defense attempt to contain Brees and the Saints potent passing attack.
Saints RBs had no TDs last week but accounted for 118 yards of rushing. What will they need to do in order to get into the red-zone against the Texans?
It’s not the runningbacks, but the lopsided play calling that prevents the Saints runningbacks from piling up the touchdowns. Head coach Sean Payton loves to throw the ball, and more times then not when in short yardage or goal line situations a pass is called. It’s hard not to lean on the pass, when Brees is the QB, but Payton has to find more balance with his play calling and trust in his running game to be successful.
What would a win over the Texans mean for the Saints?
Nothing, no disrespect meant towards the Texans, they are off to a great start this year, but we are not talking about the Superbowl champions and they are not an un-beatable team. Certainly there is a sense in the locker room of “pay back” after the preseason loss, but regardless if they win or loss Sunday their attention will shift to week four’s opponent in the Jacksonville Jaguars without much fanfare.