Houston Texans Games by Difficulty: No. 6
Continuing on we get into the toughest games of the season. The next opponent is one the Texans have never beaten, when they play at the Minnesota Vikings:
Last season the Vikings surprised everyone when they won the NFC North, defeating the Packers at Lambeau Field to capture their first division crown since 2009. Adrian Peterson ran his way to another rushing title, and even in his thirties shows no signs of slowing down. Teddy Bridgewater made the Pro Bowl last season (for whatever that’s worth–which is honestly very little), ninth the league in completion percentage.
Despite the completion percentage, Bridgewater was third lowest in the league in yards per game, ahead of only Colin Kaepernick and Nick Foles. The Vikings lack of a downfield threat limited their offense.
Houston will need to exploit the Vikings run defense, which was 21st in the league in yards per attempt allowed. The Vikings have a tough secondary despite having Terence Newman as their #1 corner, even in his late 30’s. All-pro safety Harrison Smith will have to help over the top on DeAndre Hopkins, which should open things up for Will Fuller and Braxton Miller.
The Vikings have met the Texans three times, and the Vikings won all three times. The first meeting was a 34-28 win in overtime, followed by a 28-21 game in 2008, the only game in Minnesota, and most recently with a 23-6 final score in 2012.
In order to get their first win over the Vikings, the Texans will have to run the ball. The Vikings struggled against the run last season, so Lamar Miller will need to have a big day. This game will be great for those who enjoy ground and pound football. But Brock Osweiler will need to connect on some deep throws, which there should be opportunities to hit on.