Giants (0-2) vs Texans (0-2)
After starting off the season with two
straight games on the road, the Texans have fallen to an 0-2 record. They started
in New England, and then last week they were in Tennessee. The Texans were at
midfield and had 17 seconds left to try to tie the game up with a field goal.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson scrambled around and completed a downfield pass, but
the clock ran out, leaving them with a 20-17 loss.
The Giants have also opened
the season losing in their first two games. What was thought to be a talented
offense, working behind a strengthened front line, hasn't translated to the field.
Last week the Cowboys were ready for their arrival and scored first. The Giants
trailed the entire game, kicked a field goal after a successful onside kick, but
their next one failed, and the game ended 20-13 in favor of the Cowboys.
What a difference a year
makes. In 2016 they were the AFC Division champs for the second year running,
and won one playoff game. Last year they had only 4 wins to show for their efforts.
The Texans started off at 2-2, and J.J. Watt broke his left leg early on in their
next game with the Chiefs. Then two games later, rookie starting quarterback Deshaun
Watson, who was tied for the NFL lead with 19 passing touchdowns, tore the ACL
in his right knee during practice. They won only one more game the rest of the
season. This year, catching no breaks, the Houston got to start off this season
with a two game road trip.
They lost their first game to the New England Patriots
27-20. Watt and Watson were back on the field, but starting right tackle Seantrel
Henderson, and starting cornerback Kevin Johnson, ended up on injured reserve.
Near the end of that game, the Patriots muffed a punt, and it was recovered by
Houston at the New England 16 yard line. The Texans were able to score a touchdown,
otherwise it wouldn't even have been close. Last week they climbed back from a
14 point deficit to tie the game at 17-17. A Tennessee Titans field goal left
them with just one minute to possibly tie the game. They crossed midfield, but
ran out of time on the last play of the game.
Deshaun Watson had a shortened seven game season in his rookie year because of
his injury. While he is still making some costly rookie mistakes, as he did last
week scrambling away 17 seconds on the last play of the game, you can't forget
his obvious talents. As we said, last year he had thrown 19 touchdowns in seven
games, and he's a mobile quarterback. Despite the losses this year, with the help
of his 13 carries for 84 yards, the Texans lead the NFL in rushing, averaging
157.5 rushing yards per game.
Running back Lamar Miller leads the team with
34 carries for 166 yards. In the air, Watson has thrown 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
His top receiver is DeAndre Hopkins with 14 catches for 188 yards and 1 touchdown.
Hopkins led the team last year, and while he doesn't show on the injury report,
he's a little banged up. Will Fuller missed the first game, but last week caught
8 of 9 for 113 yards and 1 touchdown.
Houston saw what happened last
week when the Cowboys took on the Giants. Eli Manning was sacked six times, and
took eight quarterback hits. This defense will be anxious to face off against
that same offensive line which could be weaker, working in the backup center for
his first game with the Giants. Ready to go will be defensive ends J.J. Watt and
Jadeveon Clowney, who missed the last game, but was their leading pass rusher
a year ago with 9.5 sacks. Linebacker Whitney Mercilus hasn't played up to the
level that he can. He tore his pectoral muscle early on last season and missed
the rest of it, and a hamstring injury kept him out of preseason activity. This
game against the Giants struggling offensive line could be the one that gets him
back to form.
Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling
Shepard, and tight end Evan Engram will be up against a
Texans secondary that has been improved over last year's model. They signed safety
Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Aaron Colvin, who was with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Safety Kareem Jackson knows how to hit, and he has 14 tackles and two forced fumbles
so far this season. Manning, even if he somehow manages to have time to throw,
will have watch out for this group.
The first week featured wide receiver
Odell Beckham Jr.. Last week it was running back Saquon Barkley. Maybe this game
the spotlight will be on tight end Evan Engram, as the Giants try to figure out
who could be the game changer for them. Last week Engram caught all seven passes
Eli Manning tossed to him for 67 yards. In the first game the Texans played with
the New England Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski was the top receiver. Maybe
hitting the tight end heavy is the way for the Giants to go.
The problem is
the Giants are struggling badly on the offensive line, and this week they had
to put their starting center Jon Halapio (broken ankle/leg) on Injured reserve.
Halapio had been playing well, and backup John Greco, who has played before under
Pat Shurmur, now has his spot. No matter what, the offensive line has to provide
better blocking for their running backs and give Eli Manning some time to throw.
haven't done it well this season, but they really need to pressure Deshaun Watson.
They have a total of just one combined quarterback
sack in the last two games, which actually has them in last place in the NFL.
The quarterback position isn't easy to master, and Watson is young and still finding
himself in this game, and making mistakes. Under pressure this year, his completion
ratio is extremely low compared to what he accomplishes without it.
are working in their offensive line, which has a third round rookie starting right
tackle, and a right tackle who's played minimal games. They have center Nick Martin
coming off ankle surgery, and picked up a few free agents to fill out the line.
The Texans don't actively use the read-option with Watson. He picks up yards on
the ground mostly with scrambles. Still, they have to have noticed how well it
worked for Dak Prescott with the Cowboys last week, and Watson is certainly capable.
Unfortunately, the Giants will once again be without Olivier Vernon. Connor
Barwin and rookie Lorenzo Carter will fill in. Cornerback Eli Apple has also been
ruled out with the injury he suffered last week. That's too bad because up to
now, the Giants faced run-first offenses. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is the
big weapon of choice, and Janoris Jenkins will have to play sharp against him.
Watson will be looking for Apple's replacement B.W. Webb, who is playing on his
seventh team in six NFL seasons. Like we said, the Giants have to pressure Watson.
Giants are in Texas for the second week in a row. This time it's Houston, and
once again we'll be seeing two teams in search of their first win. Both teams
know that an 0-3 start means suddenly being able to win 9 of the remaining 13
games, just to finish at 9-7 for a slight chance at the playoffs. Both teams have
big problems getting points up on the board, and with their offensive lines. The
one that has it playing more reliably this week will get the win.
Sunday at 1:00pm Giants (0-2)
at Texans (0-2).
Sunday at 1:00pm Colts (1-1) at Eagles (1-1).
1:00pm Packers (1-0-1) at Redskins (1-1).
Sunday at 4:25pm Cowboys (1-1) at
The Eagles are the only NFC East team favored to win in these
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Eli Manning is 3-0 against the Texans.
in 15 of the 18 seasons they started with two straight losses, have ended with
a losing record.
Giants have gone 34
consecutive regular-season games in failing to score 30 or more points.Since
1990, (NFL went to 12 playoff teams), 87.8 percent of teams who started 0-2 missed
Sept 30 Saints at Giants.
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