For the second time this year the Saints are facing off against the Houston Texans, only this time it's for real. Hopefully the results are different. And for the second time this year, I had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the Texans by asking a few questions of the Battle Red Blog staff. What follows below are their answers to my questions. Be sure to check out Battle Red Blog for any Texans news, and catch my answers to their questions right here.
Canal Street Chronicles: Quickly perusing Battle Red Blog and I notice the incredible amount of hate directed toward DT Shaun Cody. What's the story with that? Should the Saints focus on running the ball against the Texans defense?
Battle Red Blog: Texans fans have been lusting after a legitimate space-eating nose tackle for years. While the organization did a great job addressing many of its most glaring areas of need this last offseason, the team surprisingly opted to roll with a tandem of Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell at NT. Many of us were concerned that Cody and, to a lesser extent, Mitchell, wouldn't be able to effectively do the job. Thus far, that's looking like a valid concern.
The Saints should not even attempt to run the ball. And certainly not directly up the soft, chewy center of the Texans' defense. Please. I'm begging you. Tell Sean Payton I'll owe him one.
CSC: Has the Texans defense actually improved or have they simply been playing inferior offenses thus far?
BRB: They've definitely improved, though it's fair to question whether they've looked better than they really are, thanks to playing a Peyton Manning-less Colts squad and a Dolphins squad that's still struggling to establish an identity on offense. Houston's defense has been much more aggressive and effective getting into the backfield, and the secondary is markedly better than last year's edition (mathematically, they couldn't be any worse than last year's edition). This isn't Frank Bush's defense anymore.
CSC: Will Arian Foster be playing this week against the Saints? Please tell me he's not playing.
BRB: Odds are that you won't hear whether Foster is playing until the Texans announce their inactives on Sunday morning. He didn't practice Tuesday or Wednesday, and he was limited in practice on Thursday. If I was a betting man, I'd wager that the team holds Foster out on Sunday. Best case scenario, Foster plays but Ben Tate still gets a whole lot of snaps.
CSC: What's the key matchup in this game for the Texans?
BRB: The front seven has to get pressure on Drew Brees, or he will destroy the Texans' secondary. To that end, Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, J.J. Watt, and Antonio Smith have to win the matchup with the Saints' OL (plus any blocking or chipping TEs and RBs).
CSC: Complete this sentence: Every time the Texans _____, I want to stab my eyes out with a dull object.
BRB: "...instruct or allow a Houston cornerback to give an eight yard cushion to a receiver when there are less than eight yards to a first down or touchdown..."
CSC: Bonus: Care to make a prediction?
BRB: I'll post a specific prediction on the score in a post on BRB Friday afternoon, but I do think the Saints win this game. I believe it'll be a reasonably close affair that will see New Orleans prevail in the end.