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Texans at Falcons: 5 Questions Texans Need Answered


1. Can Matt Schaub and the wounded WR corps pick apart a fired up Falcons secondary?

One thing’s for sure this season; Matt Schaub is accurate and can pass to a wide variety of receivers. As it seems so far, Jerome Mathis and Kevin Walter will start for the Texans at WR. Walter should be matched up with Lewis Sanders, who has 13 tackles in 3 games for the Falcons. Mathis’s speed should be put to the tests as he will probably match up against speedy, and recently troubled, CB DeAngelo Hall, who received a 15-yard penalty for pushing Steve Smith Sunday setting up a FG by the Panthers. Hall, who was often penalized in the game, returned to the bench where he shouted at HC Bobby Petrino and then had to be pulled way by his teammates. Petrino considered benching Hall, but let him finish the game, a 27-20 loss to the Panthers in Atlanta.

Notes: The Panthers’ Delhomme and Carr threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns last week in Atlanta. Against the Panthers, Matt Schaub threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns. This week he is without Andre Johnson and Jacoby Jones. Andre Davis is still a question mark this week.

2. Will the Texans D force the Falcons’ O to try and beat them?

Joey Harrington is coming off his best game as a Falcon last week against the Panthers (361 yards, 31 completions and 2 touchdowns). Harrington has been utilizing his TE Algae Crumpler and his rising WR threat, Roddy White (7 receptions, 127 yard and 1 touchdown last week). On the other side of the ball, Texans’ young rookie DT Amobi Okoye made his presence felt getting a sack in two straight games. The Louisville product should show his old coach why he should have been there first round pick, a would-be replacement for the aging Grady Jackson. MLB DeMeco Ryans is a beast and has controlled the field along with CB Dunta Robinson.

Notes: The Falcons, who had only one game under 100 rushing yards last year, were held to under 100 yards for the third straight game. Their run game will rely on versatile FB Ovie Mughelli to create blocks for RBs Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood through a disguised and packed Texans front seven. Houson is currently ranked 5th in the NFL for stopping the run, allowing opponents to average 76.7 yards per game. In front are the Ravens, Vikings, Eagles and Patriots.

3. Who’s carrying the rock for the Texans?

Ahman Green might be out this week with swelling in his knee. Replacing Green could be the injured Ron Dayne (ribs) or Samkon Gado, who split carries with FB Jameel Cook last week against the Colts. Veteran C Mike Flanagan will take the starting role for C Steve McKinney (torn ACL). The Falcons DLine should not be a worry to a well designed zone blocking system that will utilize Schaub’s passing abilities on roll outs.

Notes: The Falcons starting DLine had 9 total tackles. DE John Abraham had two sacks. Last week, Deshaun Foster had 20 carries for 122 yards and one touchdown after week 2’s 9 carry, 22 yard game at Carolina versus Houston. Ahman Green’s injury could keep him out a few more weeks. Ron Dayne’s injury has yet to be claimed as serious although he sat out last week versus the Colts.

4. Will the Texans secondary be ready for Algae Crumpler, Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and Joe Horn?

The Texans secondary could have played better against a powerful Colts offense, but ultimately lost because they could not stop Mannign and his receivers. This game holds the exact opposite for the Texans secondary, but they cannot go sleeping on an emerging Falcons passing offense. DBs Dunta Robinson and Petey Faggins should be ready for TE Crumpler, and WRs White, Michael Jenkins and veteran Joe Horn.

Notes: Roddy White, 3rd year receiver out of UAB, has 15 catches for 237 yards and one touchdown on the season. Crumpler has 13 grabs for 156 yards and one touchdown. Look for Petey Faggins and Jamar Fletcher to shut down Michael Jenkins and Joe Horn. S C.C. Brown has to step up his game and watch for TE Algae Crumpler to be open in the red zone. Dunta Robinson should play well against White.

5. Will the Texans Matt Schaub show his old team how much they miss him?

Joey Harrington was the third overall pick six years ago by the Detroit Lions after the Texans selected David Carr (1) and the Panthers selected Julius Peppers (2). Although he has shown conservative passing, it that has yet to pay off in a win. Shaub, a four year veteran and the former back up to the infamous Mike Vick, was traded to and signed by Houston, changing both franchise’s directions.

Notes: Last year, Miami blocked for Harrington. He was only sacked 15 times in 11 games. This year, in three games, he has been sacked 15 times.

For the both teams, winning this game will require four quarters of hard defense, the fewest turnovers, and the most passing yards. If the Texans DLine can maintain pressure like they have on previous Sundays, then Harrington shouldn’t be passing for 300 yards Sunday.

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