The Green Bay Packers face a tough challenge when they head to Houston to take on the still undefeated Texans. Although Houston struggled last week in prime-time against a distinctly average New York Jets side, the team is undefeated for a reason. The Texans combine the third best defense in the NFL with an offense ranked 14th ranked overall.
Green Bay is likely to struggle stopping former Arian Foster and the Houston running back is likely to have a good day against a Greenbay defence that has allowed over an average of 100 yards per game. The Packers will have to rely on the arm of quarterback, Aaron Rodgers if they want to leave with a victory.
The Texans have spent significant money last year to bring cornerback, Jonathan Joseph and safety, Daneial Manning in to improve what was a porous secondary. The two players have proved to be valuable additions but will face a significant challenge in covering Green Bay’s multiple receiving threats.
Although wide receiver, Greg Jennings is out with a groin injury, the Packers still have outstanding options with Jordy Nelson and James Jones. The receiving core will have extra work to do in order to compensate for the Packers’ complete lack of a running game. Whatever partial illusion of a running threat they had disappeared when Cedric Benson was placed on injured reserve with a Lisfranc fracture.
Alex Green and James Starks will split the main load, with Green likely to get the start. However, both backs are question marks, coming off serious recent injuries. Both are likely to struggle against one of the strongest front sevens in the NFL. The Texans are without all pro linebacker, Brian Cushing who left the Jets game with what turned out to be an ACL tear. The injury will keep him out for the year but with players such as JJ Watt, who is in the running for NFL sack leader, Houston is not short of defensive talent.
On offense, Andre Johnson is still one of the premier wide receivers in the league although he is getting older and struggling to stay healthy. The Jets were largely able to keep him under wraps last week but he is the kind of player capable of changing the game in a single play. Tight-end, Owen Daniels is another player to watch on offense. The tight-end is an excellent receiver and blocker.
Green Bay has yet to find a bookend rusher to help out former NFL Defensive player of the year, Clay Matthews. Until they do, their defence will continue to struggle to generate pressure. As a classic pocket passer, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is going to like the amount of time he’ll have to throw.
Houston is only favoured by two and a half points while playing at home.
This is perhaps due to the influence Rodgers has on any game. With him playing it is impossible to count the 2-3 Packers out. But with Houston’s considerable advantage in defence, it is hard to look beyond them for the victory. The game will be shown nationally on NBC at 8:20 PM EST.