Oct 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing (56) walks off the field after being injured during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLIfe Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Texans vs Packers Preview: Defense


The Houston Texans face perhaps their biggest obstacle thus far this season on Sunday Night in the Green Bay Packers. The Texans have proven that they are one of the best teams in the league, but to eliminate all doubt they look to take down Aaron Rodgers and stake their claim as the league elite.

The Texans offense will have their hands full with one of the best pass rushes in the league, but the defense certainly won’t be facing an easy task either.

Front Seven

J.J. Watt had a sack stolen from him this week by the Elias Sports Bureau, which in turn stole his league lead in sacks as well. Unfortunately for Aaron Rodgers, his teammate Clay Matthews is the one that now holds the record and that means that Watts motor will be running even higher as he faces off against him head to head.

Last week and the week before I stated that Connor Barwin may have his sackless streak broken. He still hasn’t and we’re going to use reverse psychology this week and say that he almost assuredly will not get a sack this week. We’ll see how that works.

This also marks the first week this season that the Texans will be without middle linebacker, Brian Cushing. It will be interesting to see how the injury affects one of the Texans weakest positions and if Bradie James and Tim Dobbins can step up and fill the void even slightly.

Oct. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Houston Texans player Kareem Jackson (25) celebrates after picking off the New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Secondary

Johnathan Joseph was horrible last week. He got beat by a cornerback on a double move, fell down on a failed jam attempt, and allowed Jeremy Kerley to amass nearly 100 yards in his first game as the number one receiver in the NFL.

If Joseph plays like that this week Aaron Rodgers will have a field day and take advantage of him all night especially when he will be playing against significantly better receivers such as Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. I believe last weekend was a fluke, however, and Joseph will come out ready to make up for last weeks performance.

Kareem Jackson is blossoming before our eyes and making what looked like an Amobi-Okoye-esque pick look more like a J.J.-Watt-esque pick. He enters tomorrow night looking for his third interception in as many games and his fourth on the season.

If the corners can step up big tomorrow night and cover the opposing receivers long enough for the pass rush to get in the face of Rodgers then the Texans should come out on top.

Special Teams

Last week I praised Trindon Holliday for not trying to hard to force big plays. Unfortunately this is a big play league and he was cut following his lackluster performance against the Jets.

With Holliday gone it means the Texans could use either Danieal Manning, Keshawn Martin or Justin Forsett for return duties. Martin is the favorite as he is electric with the ball in his hands as proven during his time at Michigan State.

The kicking and punting game go relatively untalked about even though they are some of the most important plays in the game. Hopefully Shayne Graham makes his kicks and Donnie Jones continues to pin the opposing team inside the 20 so we can continue not talking about it.

My Prediction: Texans over Packers 31-20

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