A pair of the league’s most explosive offenses square off in the Big Easy in what could likely be a preview of this year’s Super bowl, as the New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The unbeaten Texans will face their most difficult opponent this season when they face a Saints team who after losing to the Packers in Week 1, pummeled the Bears 30-12 last week at home.
Houston in the meantime improved to 2-0 with a 23-13 win over Miami as QB Matt Schaub completed 21 of 29 passes for 230 yards and tossed a pair of touchdown passes to help his team overcome the early exit of running back Arian Foster.
Foster, the NFL’s leading rusher last season, left after only 10 carries when he re-aggravated a nagging hamstring injury.
With that it appears it’s looking more and more like RB Ben Tate will get the start in Week 3 Tate filled in admirably for the second straight week and rushed 23 times for 103 yards at Miami.
Meanwhile, the Saint’ Drew Brees tossed three touchdown passes in his battle with the Bears, including a 79-yard bomb to Devery Henderson in the second quarter.
Brees has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 29 consecutive regular-season games dating to Week 4 of the 2009 season, and has tossed 62 touchdown passes during the streak, which is the fourth-longest in the NFL since 1950.
This should be one of the better games of the week, as Houston, who is always the AFC’s preseason dark horse, finally looks poised to make some noise on their way to an AFC South title, especially with the Colts out of the way. Barring some miraculous comeback by Peyton Manning, they Texans look like they might be able to at last live up to expectations.
The team seems to be firing on all cylinders, even without Foster.
Head coach in Gary Kubiak has all of the key ingredients he needs, and this weekend’s contest that will likely carry serious playoff ramifications. The Texans can prove they are a legitimate contender with a quality win over the Saints.
Schuab will need to have his biggest game ever of he is going to keep pace with Brees who already has 6 passing TDs in just the first two contest of 2011. And will need a lot of help from favorite targets Andre Johnson Owen Daniels who will have to match the catching skills of Devery Henderson who has done a remarkable job of filling the void left by the Saints Marques Colston who has been out with an injury.
Defensively both teams are pretty evenly matched.
The Saints were in the top 10 in team defense last season and look like they will climb their way their again this season while the Texans are much improved on defense after signing Jonathan Joseph, Daniel Manning, and moving Mario Williams to linebacker.
Matt’s Prediction: Saints 35, Texans 27-This is a very even matchup between two well balanced teams and I think two field goals is too big of a spread for this game. The Saints will look to use their defense to break through the o-line, stopping the running game while putting pressure on Schaub. However, of the combination of Tate and change of pace back Derrick Ward can keep the ball moving, the will keep the high powered Saints offense off the field. Still, I think the Saints have enough of the edge on defense to slow the Texans just enough to record the win and cover.