Texans vs. Saints: Three players that are vital to beating the Saints

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Nov 16, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer (7) carries the ball in the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback, Brian Hoyer

Quarterback Brian Hoyer doesn’t have to out-duel Drew Brees, he just has to make sure not to play poorly in his first game back from a concussion. The good news is Hoyer is not only a confident player, but he is also very smart. He knows he doesn’t want to get into a shootout with Drew, but rather needs to simply execute what the coaches want and not force anything.

Hoyer has exceeded expectations for him this season. His completion percentage is just under 60 percent and he has 1,704 yards with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Hoyer has a quarterback rating of 92.9, which is by far his career high.

While Hoyer and Hopkins have been great on offense, their run game has been plain atrocious. Running back Arian Foster was injured and lost for the year, but he was making no noise at all, except in the passing game.

Alfred Blue has been the replacement at running back and has averaged 3.2 yards per carry. Only three teams (San Diego, Detroit and Cleveland) have less than the 908 team rush yards than Houston. They are tied with Cleveland for the lowest per rush average at just 3.3 yards per attempt.

Next: Behind enemy lines: Texans vs. Saints

That being said, Hoyer will face third downs in this game, and they won’t always be short yardage third downs. The veteran quarterback will have to be efficient and smart to get Houston in the win column Sunday.