Writer: Josh McSwain
Game: Houston Texans (3-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-0)
Outlook: The Vikings are one of two teams that the Texans have never beaten, the other being the Eagles. The Texans head to the brand spankin’ new US Bank Stadium to try and get their first win over Minnesota on Sunday.
Things don’t look very good for the Texans to reverse that trend on Sunday. This Vikings defense is one of the best in the NFL, and they get after quarterbacks. For a team in the Texans that have had issues on the offensive line, Brock Osweiler better be ready to take a beating in this game.
The key for the Texans is going to be Lamar Miller. The Vikings have shown some vulnerability to the run so far this season, and the Texans will need to prevent getting into third and longs and letting the Vikings pass rush pin their ears back and come after Osweiler.
The real strength of the Vikings is in their secondary. They have a great group of cornerbacks with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Terence Newman. Rhodes blanketed Odell Beckham on Monday night, and he will spend a lot of time on DeAndre Hopkins. Even Newman is still fleet afoot, keeping up with Beckham on a go route Monday night. So Will Fuller also figures not to have as good of a day.
On offense, the Vikings are good enough to get by. Teddy Bridgewater was lost in the preseason to an injury, and Sam Bradford has come in and rightened the ship. He makes some plays, enough for this defense. With Jerick McKinnon in the backfield, the Vikings have gotten by without Adrian Peterson. I figure he will find some holes in this one.
This figures to be a defensive struggle, and the better defense right now belongs to the home team.
Final Score: Minnesota 17, Houston 9