the Texans are about to play the most important game in their history. I say that Richard Justice needs to get a grip. Sure, if the Texans defeat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the team’s record will be 4-4, they will have won four straight games, and they will finally have won a road game.
But the most important game of their existence? I don’t think so.
I think the Texans are going to have a difficult time beating the Vikings this weekend. And that’s because the Vikings are unlike any team the Texans have faced since they played the Tennessee Titans, i.e. they are going to face one of the best running teams in football.
The Chron tells us that the Texans are much improved on run defense these past four weeks, in which the team has gone 3-1, but three of those teams had awful running games, and none of those teams had a running back like the Purple Jesus, Adrian Peterson.
Peterson is the NFL’s second-leading rusher with 684 yards for a 4.5 yard-per-carry average and five touchdowns. The last time the Texans faced a team with a running game this good, the Titans tandem of running backs went off for 154 rushing yards. The Texans, with the NFL’s 21st ranked run defense, give up an average of 119.6 running yards per game and have given up the second most rushing TDs in the league with 11.
The Texans will have some things working in their favor. While the Vikings have the eighth-ranked defense in the NFL, their pass defense is only the 20th best, as they allow 219.4 yards per game on the pass. And if the Texans have shown anything these past several weeks, it’s that they like to pass the football. Andre Johnson has been on fire with four straight games of 100-plus receiving yards. Owen Daniels has become Matt Schaub’s safety valve receiver with 32 receptions for 399 yards.
The Vikings do have the NFL’s second-best rushing defense, as they allow only 70.7 yards per game on the ground – this may affect the effectiveness of rookie running back Steve Slaton.
The Texans are 0-3 on the road this season, and they are only 4-15 on the road during Gary Kubiak’s tenure as head coach. The Vikings are favored by about four points, and I think this is about right. I haven’t seen anything in the Texans recent play to demonstrate that they stop can stop a running back like Adrian Peterson, and if Peterson can get yards, then it doesn’t matter that the Vikings quarterback is the ancient Gus Frerotte.
The Texans should be able to throw on the Vikings, but at some point in the game they will have to run the football, and according to the stats, they won’t be able to get a working running game. And Gary Kubiak just bugs me as a coach and I just know the Vikings are going to find some way to throw him off of his game.
The Texans are four games behind the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South. It is just about impossible for them to catch the Titans. And I would like to see them get to 4-4, but I don’t see 4-4 making them a playoff team, just as I don’t see this being the most important game in their existence.
For a game to be important in team history, it has to be worth something. This game isn’t worth anything. There’s not a playoff spot riding on this game. There’s not a draft pick riding on it. There’s not finally being able to beat the Titans or the Colts. Now something like that would help make for the most important game in team history.
But this game against the Vikings, it’s just another football game. – John Royal
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.