Houston Texans Games by Difficulty: No. 1
By Josh McSwain
The toughest game of the Houston Texans will be a December showdown on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The Green Bay Packers fought injuries last season and were not up to their usual form, and search for a rebound year in 2016:
The 2015 Packers season started falling apart in August. During a preseason game in Pittsburgh Jordy Nelson tore his ACL and was out for the season. That seemed to open the flood gates and during the year Randall Cobb was hurt and the supporting cast around Aaron Rodgers looked like too much to overcome at times.
This time around, the Packers should have their offense back in top form and firing on all cylinders as Rodgers looks to make it back to the Super Bowl.
The history between these two teams is peculiar to say the least. In the three meetings, the road team has won each time. The first meeting was in 2004 in Houston, with the Packers winning 16-13 on a Ryan Longwell field goal at the gun. The second meeting was in Green Bay in 2008 during Rodgers’ first year as a starter, and the Texans won 24-21 on a last second field goal by Kris Brown. Matt Schaub threw for 414 yards, outdueling the young Rodgers who threw for 295 yards.
In 2012 the Packers handed the Texans their first loss as Rodgers lit up the Texans secondary for 338 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-24 win. The Packers entered the game 2-3 while the Texans were 5-0 to start the season.
This week 13 showdown comes just in time to get it in December. It will be cold, which fortunately is something that Brock Osweiler is used to from his time in Denver. But the key on cold weather days is the running game, and that is where the Packers have been vulnerable for the past few years.
Last season they gave up 4.5 yards per rush and ranked 21st in the league overall at stopping the run. On the flip side, Eddie Lacy is a big back built for the cold to wear down opposing defenses. For the Texans to win, they will have to contain Lacy with just seven guys in order to keep Rodgers from getting as many favorable coverages in the passing game.
Also it goes without saying that the Texans must play a ball control style of offense, keep Rodgers on the sideline and not turn the ball over. All of the above is much easier said than done against arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and one of the best teams over the last decade. The combination of opponent and environment make it the toughest game on the Texans schedule–do you agree or disagree?