Failing to gain any momentum throughout the season the Green Bay Packers meet the venerable Houston Texans defense Sunday night at Reliant Stadium.
Green Bay gave up their biggest lead in more than 50 years last week and fell to 2-3 on the year with a 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Rookie Colts quarterback Andrew Luck erased an 18-point lead with a four-yard pass to receiver Reggie Wayne with :35 remaining, and the Packers failed to convert a 51-yard field goal try by kicker Mason Crosby.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers amassed 235 yards and three touchdowns, but his interception to start the third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Packers gave up two passing and one rushing touchdown to Luck, while Green Bay’s typically prolific offense mustered only one second half score against an Indianapolis defense allowing 27.5 points per game.
Green Bay was also forced to put running back Cedric Benson on injured reserve this week after he injured his ankle against the Colts. Reserve backs James Starks and Brendon Saine move up the depth chart for Sunday’s game.
Receiver Greg Jennings also re-aggravated a groin injury and is out against the Texans.
Injuries aside, Green Bay continues to trade one win for a loss from week to week, and such inconsistency will not fare well against a Houston team that is balanced on both sides of the ball.
The undefeated Texans lost Brian Cushing for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament tear in their 23-17 win over the New York Jets last week, but have proven they can plug players into their top defensive scheme and achieve the same kind of success.
Undefeated Houston is currently third in pass defense and second in rush defense, but showed some weakness against the Jets, allowing running back Joe McKnight to return a kick-off 100 yards, and letting New York hang around a little too long.
Running back Arian Foster has rushed for at least 105 yards in three of the Texans last four games, and leads a Houston offense that is sixth in the league in rushing. Foster tallied 152 yards and one touchdown on the ground against New York.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has failed to throw for 300 yards in a game this season, but has efficiently managed the Houston offense with eight touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
Betting Odds: Houston is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 46.5 points
Prediction: Green Bay runs the risk of falling two games behind Chicago and Minnesota in the NFC North standings, making this their most important game of the season. Rodgers should put together a strong game, but the Texans are too complete a team and will find a way to win a very close game.
Predicted Score: Houston 31, Green Bay 24