QB: Brock Osweiler
RB: Lamar Miller
WR: Deandre Hopkins
WR: Will Fuller V
TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz
LT: Duane Brown
LG: Xavier Su’a-Filo
C: Greg Mancz
RG: Jeff Allen
RT: Chris Allen
(Also shoutout to the Texans who actually list their teams up to date depth chart before the game unlike some others. *Cough* Chiefs. *Cough*).
Houston is such a fascinating offense to dissect at this point in the season. Firstly, they rank 29th in the NFL in both passing and total offense. Yet, lo and behold, they rank 8th in rushing. On the other side of the coin, they rank tied 2nd last in the league for rushing touchdowns with 8. They also rank 31st in the league for red zone offense and tied for 26th in turn over differential.
So with that dog’s breakfast of stats, what on earth can we actually ascertain about Houston’s offense heading into this matchup?
Firstly, it’s not at all inappropriate to use the earlier Raiders Texans tilt as a blueprint for this week’s matchup. Yes Carr is out, but the Texans are back to Osweiler with Savage injured too. If you remember from that matchup, the Texans passing game wasn’t exactly stellar, but they were boosted by some of Lamar Miller’s long runs, especially his 40-yard dash down the right hand sideline.
Hopkins no call touchdown is revealing in and of itself as well. Yes it was called back (rightfully), but had it not have been, the score would have been a result of Hopkins YAC ability, turning a short gain into a long streak for the touchdown. Hopkins, not Osweiler, would have been the major responsible party for that touchdown. Fiedorowicz’s touchdown was a red zone strike as well, against some pretty soft coverage from Oakland.
So all in all, what does this tell us? Houston possesses a potent running game, one that will chew up yards but will struggle in the end zone. Miller has chugged along for a 1,00 yard season but for only 5 touchdowns. For comparison, Murray only had 788 yards this year, but ran the ball in 12 times.
Passing game wise, they lack a quarterback who can make big time throws, struggles with accuracy and pocket presence. While the Texans have actually protected their quarterback quite well (top ten in fewest sacks allowed) Osweiler has still struggled to the tune of 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with a 72.2 rating. Any big plays in the passing game will have to come through the YAC-ability (yes it’s a word, at least according to Cris Collinsworth) of Hopkins and Fuller.
Hopkins is a beast of a receiver, but has no doubt suffered due to poor quarterback play. Finishing short of 1,000 yards, Hopkins has only caught 4 touchdowns this year, and only 1 in his last 11 games. On the other hand, Fuller has caught 6 touchdowns for just over 600 yards. Expect the Texans to lean on their running game, and minimize the amount of responsibility Osweiler has, for his sake and the team’s.
Now let’s examine the defense: