It feels like a holiday to most of us as we are finally able to watch our favorite team play in a real game, rather than settling for little clips from practice and reading from other observers. Tonight at 7 p.m. the Houston Texans will kick off their 2015 season with their preseason matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
The San Francisco 49ers come to Houston as NRG Stadium hosts the first preseason game for the two teams. San Fran debuts a new coach, and has several roster changes after some stunning retirements by linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland as well as tackle Anthony Davis, who apparently may come back.
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Coach Jim Tomsula will try and get the team back on track after the weird way things ended with Jim Harbaugh last year. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick looks to shake off a so-so season, and some doubters as well.
This game could be a good measuring stick for the 49ers to see how far they truly have to go to begin competing for the NFC West division title once again.
Key players to watch
The running backs will be on display for the Texans as they look for someone to step up in the absence of star running back Arian Foster. Last year’s sixth round choice, Alfred Blue, played a lot last season yet only mustered up 3.1 yards per rush.
Also on the roster is Chris Polk, a free agent pick up from the Philadelphia Eagles. Polk was a star in college, but a degenerative condition in his shoulder scared teams off and he was undrafted. He is explosive and could surprise a lot of people if given the opportunity.
Jonathan Grimes has been hyped up as an improved player and rookie Kenny Hilliard has looked good in camp. These two may be battling for the final roster spot at running back. Grimes offers a lot on special teams, so look for Hilliard to try that much harder to prove his worth as a tough runner.
The receiver position will also be on display as the spot opposite DeAndre Hopkins is open for the taking. Veteran pick ups Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III are frontrunners for the spot, but look for rookie Jaelen Strong to try and make a name for himself as well.
This game could go a long way towards judging who will start at quarterback this season for the Texans. Typically a team likes to have their starters set after the third week of preseason, so there won’t be much time for Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett to impress.
The time stress could cause one or the other to explode, or excel. Plus, given the Niners history of being a tough defense a good game tonight could score big points with the coaching staff.
Well it is the preseason so a final score usually means little to nothing. Still tonight I see San Francisco pulling Kaepernick and the starters early while Houston plays mostly Hoyer and Mallett, leaving second-year passer Tom Savage on the outside looking in.
The team trying to decide which player is better should result in a superior quarterback later in the game in comparison to the competition he is facing.
With that being said my guess is Houston wins it 24-13.