So after 10 years the Houston Texans, are to play their first ever playoff game at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. This is the first ever playoff game in which both teams are starting rookie quarterbacks. QB T.J. Yates was thrust into an unlikely situation, while QB Andy Dalton was drafted to be the new face of a franchise.
The Texans have experienced quite the emotional roller coaster this year in losing OLB Mario Williams and QB Matt Schaub to season ending injuries. Despite all the bad luck, this team led by Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips, has beat the odds, and losing the first round in the playoffs would seem futile.
This team is a smash mouth football team now, we got rid of the ‘finesse’ label. We will hit you in the mouth with the best defense in the NFL, then run in down your throat with the best running game in the NFL, and those are just two ways the Texans will be the Bengals this afternoon in Reliant.
The Texans defense has averaged 2 turnovers per game, and the last 3 games we have had one or zero. In order for this team to win, we must rely on the heavy blitzing scheme of Wade Phillips. When the Texans blitz it is a new defensive lineman or linebacker each time, and that is what keeps opposing offenses confused.
The Texans finished 6th in the NFL in sacks despite not having Mario Williams, which translated into the lowest completion rating for opposing QB’s in the NFL. In the last meeting with Cincinnati only OLB Connor Barwin had a sack, don’t expect the same to happen today, with a bumping Reliant stadium. Look for Barwin to have a big game, because ever since TCU, when Dalton rolls left out of the pocket, he panics.
Change the Gameplan
When you are starting a rookie quarterback it is safe to say unless they are a super star, you are going to call pretty conservative play calls on offense. It is even more obvious that is your gameplan, when you have a running back that is RB Arian Foster. They are going to be expecting the run, and if Gary Kubiak comes out of the game ballsy and throws, we can take the lead early and run the balls later.
Opening up the pass to set up the run, would be much more beneficial for us than vice versa. We won in Cincinnati because Gary Kubiak allowed T.J. Yates to throw for 300 yards, and let his rookie QB play the way he wanted. We have the advantage of unpredictability now that we have our 3rd string QB. Opposing defenses are wondering if we will stick to our usual gameplan, or adjust in order to take advantage of something that is not there.
Arian Foster & Andre Johnson
In my opinion RB Arian Foster is the MVP of the NFL 2011-2012 season, he has been the most valuable piece of this Texans puzzle. WR Andre Johnson is still the best receiver in the NFL when healthy, no one has the combination of speed, strength, and ability to run routes. If these two men have 100 yard games, the Texans will win their first playoff game. They are both players that have proved time over time, that they can take over games.
Foster had his worst game of the season with 41 rushing yards and some fumbles. If he plays the way we know he can play, then the Texans can also allow RB Ben Tate to get his 10+ carries. When Tate gets 10+ carries, that means the Texans are playing ahead, and that is a good sign. All Johnson has cared about since he has won a national championship in Miami and was drafted to Houston, is winning a championship. He is one of the few players who has been loyal to his organization, and has always believed we can be championship contenders.
Now we are contenders, and when Andre is healthy he lays it all on the field. If Andre has 100+ with a TD that is all the Texans offense will need to open up the running game and open up the field for the rest of the receiving core.