Playmaker Preview: Texans at Jets

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TEEEBOOOWWW! There’s been a not-so-subtle message coming out of New York and from the fans and national media concerning the Jets. After the San Francisco 49ers blew them out last week, everyone who’s been asking the question “when are we going to see Tim Tebow?” is hearing the same answer: “Probably by week six.”

Everyone is saying that because everyone is expecting the Texans to blow out the Jets and force Rex Ryan and the New York coaching staff to make a change at quarterback, maybe during the game. The Monday Night Football spotlight in New York may lead to a lot of boo’s and chants for Tebow and a lot of pressure on the coaching staff. So let’s see if the Texans will really dominate the Jets the way everyone thinks they will in our Playmaker Preview.

Texans running game vs. Jets run defense

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The New York Jets have one of the worst defenses in the league and if there’s one thing that they’re really bad it, it’s stopping the run. They’re allowing a whopping 172 yards per game and that’s including a game in which the Pittsburgh Steelers ran for just 66 yards on 28 carries.

Needless to say, this is the perfect remedy for the Houston Texans. While Arian Foster is getting yards and touchdowns, he’s having to work hard for all of it. He has over 100 carries on the season, which leads the league, but is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry, which is also what the Texans are averaging as a team. We talked about this after Houston beat the Tennessee Titans. Foster looks frustrated after almost every run, getting tripped up before he can bust a big one and taking punishment when he runs between the tackles.

Houston will be without Ben Tate, as he missed practice on Friday with an injured toe. Luckily, they signed Justin Forsett who signed with Houston just for this opportunity. He’s more than capable of handling the backup role and he looked good in the preseason. Hopefully he can get in on what should be the Houston running game’s first big performance of the season.

Edge: Texans

Texans passing game vs. Jets pass defense

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It’s a shame that we’re going to miss out on a Darrell Revis vs. Andre Johnson matchup in this game because Revis is out for the season with an ACL injury. That would have been fun to watch all game. Sadly, we’re missing out. The Jets have a very good pass defense on paper, but that’s only because it was when Revis was still healthy combined with the fact that teams were having so much success running the ball or just flat out scoring with their defense and special teams the way the San Francisco 49ers did.

(Let’s have a moment of silence for all the fantasy football owners that had to play the Niners defense last week…)

Matt Schaub is having a great season and the line is doing a phenomenal job of protecting him, even those new guys on the right side of the line. The Jets pass rush has generated just five sacks. Schaub has been sacked just three times this season. Not only that, but the young wide receivers are ahead of the game in development. Andre Johnson looks like his old self and Owen Daniels is back to being reliable now that he’s healthy, but guys like Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin have made key catches during games particularly when Schaub looks for them on 3rd down.

Whether the Jets are protecting against shallow throws down the middle or afraid to give up the deep play, Schaub is going to pick them apart.

Edge: Texans

Jets passing game vs. Texans pass defense

Photo by Javi Perez/Playmaker Magazine
That’s the face that Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, or whomever the Jets have taking snaps for them on Monday night will have coming right at them every time they drop back to pass. Good luck with that.

The only thing that the Jets have working in their favor is that Texans safety Quintin Demps just had surgery on a broken forearm and is going to miss some time while he heals up. But Houston is ridiculously deep in their secondary. And in a matter of perfect timing, former safety Troy Nolan was released just in time to sign back with Houston to take up the spot.

The unit is getting better and better every week, culminating with last week’s stellar performance when Glover Quin sacked Jake Locker proceeded by both Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson returning interceptions for touchdowns. With Santonio Holmes done for the season, the Jets are leaning on a bunch of young, unproven receivers to make big catches with tight end Dustin Keller, whose being held back to block most of the time and will likely do so again on Monday.

Edge: Texans

Jets running game vs. Texans run defense

Of the three players leading the New York Jets in yards per carry, two of them are quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez: 4.0 & Tim Tebow: 4.2) and the other is a wide receiver (Joe McKnight: 4.7). Not a great place to be. The Jets are still relying on Shonn Green as their primary back, but he’s been disappointing. New York is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry as a team, 3rd worst in the NFL, and about 86 yards per game on the ground.

Chris Johnson and Reggie Bush are the only two running backs in the league that have played well against Houston. The Texans running defense isn’t what it was last year, as Johnson snapped their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher, but their front seven is probably the best front seven in the NFL. People were making that claim before JJ Watt emerged as the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year.

Edge: Texans

Special Teams

Thanks to their defense, the Jets are getting a lot of practice this season returning kickoffs. Joe McKnight is averaging more than 27 yards per return. He hasn’t broken out for a touchdown yet though, much like Trindon Holliday, the Texans returner who returned several special teams touchdowns in the preseason. Watch out for Jeremy Kerley, though. The second-year man out of TCU (originally from Austin) is averaging 17 yards per punt return. As for the kickers, Shayne Graham is 7-8 on the season, and 2-3 on kicks longer than 40 yards. Jets kicker Nick Folk is 6-6 but hasn’t even attempted a kick longer than 40 yards yet this season.

Edge: Push

Coaching

It’s tough to find something that Rex Ryan has done right this season. The defense looks terrible. The offense is just giving up. The locker room has to be split on whether to bring Tebow in already or not. They’re actually lucky to be 2-2, but may be falling on hard times with the Texans on Monday night and then the New England Patriots on the road in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Gary Kubiak is working through some team struggles and still finding ways for them to get better. He needs to concentrate on the offensive line’s run-blocking and worry about a few injuries right now, but he found a way to work through a lot worse last year and get the Texans just a few plays away from the AFC Championship Game.

Edge: Texans

Outcome

Houston won’t face a worse rushing defense all season. Tate is injured, but Foster has to be looking forward to a great game that makes him smile and takes away some of his frustrations. Hopefully the Texans coaching staff eases his load by giving plenty of touches to Forsett since their short week leads up to Sunday night game at home against the Green Bay Packers. In any case, with the Jets looking so bad and their offensive strife at quarterback, this one has blowout written all over it.

Playmaker Prediction: Texans 41, Jets 13

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About Javi Perez

Javi Perez is a contributing editor with Playmaker Magazine heading up the sports desk, as well as covering the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Texas Longhorns, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, film, and TV. He currently lives in San Antonio.