Houston Texans Games by Difficulty: No. 15


We continue our countdown of the toughest games of the Houston Texans 2016 season. Coming in at number 15 is the week 8 home game against the Detroit Lions.

Right before the bye week, the Texans will host the Lions at home. This year will be something totally new for the Lions, as they will be without Calvin Johnson, one of the best receivers of all-time, for the first time since 2006. They signed former Bengal Marvin Jones to play alongside Golden Tate, but there are still some huge holes for the Lions.

The offensive line is still bad. They still don’t run the ball well. The defense fell off after a stellar 2014 season, and is now just okay.

The Lions are led by Matthew Stafford. The inconsistent but big armed quarterback seems just good enough that the Lions would look bad getting rid of him, but just bad enough to keep them from becoming a true contender.

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The Texans lead the all-time series 2-1. They lost the first meeting in 2004 28-16 in Detroit. The only meeting in Houston was a 28-21 win for the Texans in 2008 during the Lions 0-16 campaign. Their last meeting was on Thanksgiving, in which the Texans won 34-31.

That game was controversial as Justin Forsett scored on an 81 yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put Houston back within three at 24-21. Forsett was clearly down on the play but the official didn’t call it and because then Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag on a scoring play which violated the rules, the touchdown stood. Also, there was the infamous kick to the groin of Matt Schaub by Ndamukong Suh in the first quarter.

The Lions would have their chances later in the game as in overtime Kyle Vanden Bosch should have intercepted Schaub deep in Houston territory to set up the winning score but couldn’t come up with it. Jason Hanson banged a field goal off the upright in overtime. Therefore, it cannot be definitely stated that the officials cost the Lions the game.

This time around, Stafford will need to beat a tough Houston secondary without the help of Johnson to take the top off of the defense. But it’s not like he would have much time in the pocket to get off those long throws. Detroit will make it tough with Ziggy Ansah coming off the edge at Brock Osweiler and the underrated Darius Slay covering DeAndre Hopkins.

Come back tomorrow for number 14 on the countdown.