Strength Vs. Strength: Houston’s Top 10 Offense Takes on Seattle’s Top 10 Defense
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By Matthew Asher
After shellacking the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-17, undefeated Seattle will travel to take on their second of four straight AFC South teams, this time the division leading Houston Texans. With both Seattle and Houston ranking in the top 10 in gaining yards on offense and limiting it on defense, this game has a chance to be an instant classic.
Although their 30-9 loss last week to the Baltimore Ravens didn’t help, Houston is still a team you don’t want to take lightly. They do a good job of gaining yards on offense and limiting them on defense. The only downfall for Houston is the one that matters: scoring. Scoring 23.3 points a game ranks them at number 15, but still the top half of the league.
Houston does a great job of piling up the yards. Their 388.3 yards of offense is the seventh most in the league. When it comes to how the yards are gained, the Texans are very consistent both with running and passing. The 259.7 passing yards and 128.7 rushing yards are both the ninth best in the league.
Quarterback Matt Schaub has done a decent job this season. Through the first three games he’s completed 66 percent of his pass attempts totaling 838 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions for a quarterback rating of 87.3. Three Texan receivers have already eclipsed both the 10-reception and 100-receiving yard marks.
Andre Johnson leads the team in both receptions and yards with 25 and 258, respectively but no touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins has 18 catches for 243 receiving yards and one touchdown. Owen Daniels may only have less than half the receptions of Johnson and less than half the yardage of Hopkins, but he leads the team with three touchdown catches.
With Arian Foster and Ben Tate in the backfield, Houston’s running game is always one to pay attention to. Foster and Tate have combined for 374 rushing yards, averaging 4.9 yards per attempt. The duo have also caught eight passes each for a combined 59 yards. Not spectacular, but it’s nice to know when a running back is a dual threat. The only problem with the rushing attack is between the two of them, just one rushing touchdown has been scored.
Even though Houston has done a great job of gaining yards, they have a tough time converting them into points. Kicker Randy Bullock had made just four field goal on eight attempts. It should be noted that three of his misses were from 50-plus yards, so it’s not like he’s missing the easy ones.
Houston also does a good job of controlling the ball, averaging nearly 33.5 minutes of possession each game. The big killer for Houston? Turnovers where they currently are a minus three.
If Seattle can limit Houston’s time of possession, there’s no reason they can’t improve to 4-0. It won’t be easy, but nothing ever is in the NFL. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. PDT.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.