Mark Ingram and the Houston Texans offensive line
To help support a rookie who’s making his first NFL start on primetime television, Mark Ingram and the offensive line have to be on their best game tonight. Carolina is currently only allowing opponents to rush for about 45 yards a game.
With the Panthers running a base 4-3 defense, this should allow the offensive line to make clear calls and not worry too much about figuring calls out at the line. Even fronts are technically easier from an offensive lineman’s perspective, as odd-man fronts create more confusion due to the extra space between defenders.
This isn’t an attempt to take anything away from Carolina’s defense and what they’ve done this year. Teams only get those numbers for a reason, and that’s by winning in the trenches. With Yetur Gross-Matos being declared out, the inside run game and blocking just got a bit easier.
The offensive linemen led by Max Scharping will have to make sure that the play-calling doesn’t become one-sided too early. If that happens, it’ll be playing right into the strength of the Panthers defense.
Houston can win this game, and it’s most likely going to come down to these three players winning the majority of their battles.