The Texans were less than mediocre last week against the only decent opponent the team has played all year. Now that they are playing the only other team in the AFC above .500 it stands to reason that if they come out and lay another egg like they did last week, they will no longer be considered a top-five team in the league. While it is impossible to call this a must-win game for a team that will still likely have their division wrapped up by week 12, it isn’t a stretch to say that to earn respect around the league this game is must-win.
This game is more or less on Schaub’s shoulders. If he comes out and plays like he did against Baltimore and represents decisive, risk-taking leadership, the Texans will win this football game. If he plays like he did last week against a Packers defense that was historically bad a season ago, then the burden will be passed on to the running game.
Schaub has statistically one of the best tight ends in football in Owen Daniels, good pass-catching running backs in Foster, Tate and Forsett, and one of the premier receivers in the league with Andre Johnson. Obviously scheme dictates outcomes which is why I haven’t been on Schaub’s case this year for putting up less than spectacular numbers, but this is his week to shine.
Oct 14, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) celebrates a touchdown run against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Packers defeated the Texans 42-24. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Everyone expected big things in the running game last week and it was less than impressive. Ben Tate only had four carries and Arian Foster might as well have had four carries because he was completely shut down.
This week they play a Baltimore defense that allowed 227-yards rushing to the Dallas Cowboys last week, and almost 100 to Felix Jones. If the Texans can’t get Arian Foster over 100-yards rushing today, then maybe it’s time to reassess the team and how balanced they are.
Hopefully we see a little more of Ben Tate as well who has had a good week in practice. Unfortunately if history is to repeat itself, Tate looks to have an underwhelming day as in both games last year against the Ravens he was stuffed early and often.
As I said earlier, the Texans have great tight ends, a great number one receiver, and great pass-catching running backs. You don’t need a stable of great receivers if you can field that and a good running game. However, if the Texans don’t come out and run the ball effectively it might be time to unleash the Schaub we saw in 2009 when he led the league in passing. He did it with below average receivers then and he can still do it now.
Hopefully we see a little more from the young guys than we have in the last few weeks as it is likely that the Texans will dress five receivers again this week. I expected a big game from Keshawn Martin last week and I expect it again. If he plays well then we can show Jacoby Jones why he is no longer with the team.
The offensive line was abysmal last week. I will give them the benefit of the doubt because they have been phenomenal all season and they were facing a fearsome front seven. That being said, if they put up another game like last week’s we will lose to the Ravens.
My Prediction: Houston Texans over Baltimore Ravens: 31-20