Houston (5-0) gets its second consecutive primetime matchup this week when they face the Green Bay Packers (2-3) on Sunday night (7:20 CST). Houston has a number of ailing players, but all of the key cogs, save for Brian Cushing who was lost for the season on Monday, are expected to play. Green Bay’s has its injury woes as well. Cedric Benson suffered a Lisfranc injury last weekend, and has been placed on injured reserve. Greg Jennings (groin) has been ruled out. B.J. Raji (ankle) is expected to play on Sunday, not to be 100%. TEs Jermichael Finley (shoulder) and D.J. Williams (hamstring) are listed as questionable. Here’s what to watch for:
The Texans are undefeated coming into Sunday night’s matchup, coming off of a surprisingly close victory against the Jets on Monday night. The Packers, one of the best teams in the NFL, stand at 2-3 after losing by 3 to Indianapolis. The Texans need to be focused if they expect to beat the Packers.
Andre Johnson vs. Tramon Williams
Green Bay’s defense was up in 2010. It was down in 2011. This year has been a bit of both, but Green Bay’s biggest weakness is against opposing #1 receivers, to whom they’re allowing the second-most yardage in the league (105.8/game). Tramon Williams, a former Texan and one of the biggest reasons for Green Bay’s big season in 2010, missed 2 potential interceptions last weekend en route to giving Reggie Wayne one of the biggest games of his career. This week, he faces Andre Johnson, who hopes to have a big week for his fantasy owners.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Houston’s Defense
Aaron Rodgers is being blamed by many observers for Green Bay’s slow start. As he’s on-pace for 4000+ passing yards and has a higher completion rate (68.6%) than he did last year, I’m not sure why. One of Rodgers’s greatest talents is his ability to release the ball quickly. In spite of this, Green Bay has allowed 21 sacks, second-worst in the league. Houston may not need to bring a lot of extra pressure on the edges, but they’ll still get to the quarterback. They’ll need to, or Rodgers will do some damage in the secondary.
It wouldn’t be wise to pick against the undefeated Texans, but Green Bay is certainly capable of knocking them off, even at Reliant, if they come out strong. Look for a big day from Andre Johnson and a good showing from the defense, but don’t expect Rodgers to roll over. It should be a good one.
HOU 23, GB 20