September 30, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) reacts after recovering a fumble by the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Texans @ Jets Preview: Defense


The Houston Texans have seen a trend so far this season of playing against teams that have drastically less talent than they do and that trend will continue tonight against the New York Jets.

The Texans defense has been the best in the league and tonight is playing against an offense that even at full strength is below average. With Jeremy Kerley as their number one offensive weapon the Jets will have a difficult time moving the ball tonight.

Front Seven

The Bulls on Parade will have a field day tonight led by AFC Defensive Player of the Month, J.J. Watt. With 7.5 sacks this season Watt has been an unstoppable force and tonight will be playing against a very movable object in the Jets offensive line. Watt should add another game to his streak of consecutive games with a sack tonight and the Texans as a whole should be disappointed in anything less than four sacks as a team.

Last week I said that Connor Barwin would see his hard work legitimized by finally earning his first sack of the season. Unfortunately, he did not. This week could be the game that he does it and because the Jets line is so bad, a multi-sack game isn’t out of the realm of possibilities, especially if they’re keying on J.J.

Maybe this is the week we’ll see more from first-round pick Whitney Mercilus. The Texans should build a sustainable lead early and that could lead to getting some guys a little more playing time than normal, and Mercilus would presumably be one of the players that would benefit from that.

Secondary

When you have a top cornerback like Johnathan Joseph, it’s almost a let down when his competition is someone like Jeremy Kerley. Kerley would likely be held just fine by Kareem Jackson, but with the best man coverage corner in the league, now that Revis is gone for the season, covering him he will be lucky to get off of the line.

Troy Nolan makes his return tonight and should see plenty of time. With a passing offense like the Jets have, so long as you don’t let anyone run by you while you are standing still, you will probably be just fine, so the fact that the Texans have corners and safeties like they do should mean that Wade can get a little creative and confuse Sanchez.

If the Texans can play good defense against a stagnant offense it is possible that they could cause a change of quarterback for a second time this season like they did in Jacksonville, and thus create the biggest media storm since… well last year when Tebow made his first start.

Special Teams

The special teams have been fantastic this year. Sure, we haven’t returned a kick for a touchdown, but Trindon Holliday hasn’t made a mistake and has given the team good starting field position often. Factor that in with the fact that Shayne Graham has been nearly automatic and Donnie Jones is punting like his life depended on it, the Texans have one of the better special teams in the league.

Look for Holliday tonight, specifically late when the Jets have completely lost the will to play, to break open a big one.

My Prediction: The Texans will win  tonight by a score of 38-10.

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