In their season debut on Monday Night Football (Monday, 7:30 CST), Houston travels to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Jets (2-2). Jets NT Sione Pouha looks unlikely to play; TE Dustin Keller and WR Stephen Hill will likely be game-time decisions. Here’s what to watch for:
Johnathan Joseph vs. Santonio Holmes’s Replacement
With Holmes lost for the season due to a Lisfranc injury—whose best known victim was Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in 2011—Jeremy Kerley, or Stephen Hill will face off against Joseph on the outside. The Texans are (easily) the best team in the league against opposing #1 receivers, allowing 37.6 yards per game.
Houston’s Defense vs. Jets’ Offense
Houston’s defenders might be a bit confused when they face the Jets. They may not have a lot to do. The Jets hold the dubious honor of being the only team in the NFL completing less than half of their passes. Their running game isn’t much better, grinding out 3.2 yards per carry. Nobody should ever be taken for granted, however, and the Jets certainly have a few playmakers.
Andre Johnson vs. Antonio Cromartie
I guess the matchup itself doesn’t have any questions. Antonio Cromartie made headlines a week ago, stating that he’s the #2 cornerback in the NFL, behind only injured teammate Darrelle Revis (ACL), so expect him to take on Johnson. Revis has held Johnson to 35 yards or less in their two most recent meetings in 2009 and 2010, primarily without safety help (a rare situation when a cornerback covers Johnson). Cromartie, who has been exceptional since 2010 when he joined the Jets, including last week without Revis, will be expected to put his money where his mouth is.
Don’t expect the Jets to test Joseph very often. If they’re going to win, they’ll have to find another way, though it doesn’t look too promising. Houston, however, may like to test Cromartie. He’ll do better than most, but Andre might break off a big play or two on Monday.
HOU 30, NYJ 13