Saints vs. Texans Preseason 2013: Keys to the Game

Wrap him up, P-Rob!! - John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

HansDat's Hot Reads are back for Week 3 of the 2013 preseason as the Saints are in Houston to take on the Texans.

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With the Saints all set to lace 'em up in Reliant Stadium against the Texans this afternoon, I am all set to prep you for this tilt with my Hot Reads of what to watch for in this week's game.

Don't forget about our brethren and sistren over at Battle Red Blog. If you're up for it, stop by for some friendly chatter in either of the cross-posts (BRB's Pre-Game Recon and CSC's 5 Questions).

Primary Option

I'm still Looking for Love at Left Tackle, as Charles Brown is still proving his love for me with consistent, injury- and penalty-free play. It's at parts of two consecutive games and counting now, so here's hoping it continues, especially against the more fierce Texans pass rush he's sure to face today.

Checkdown # 1

With three significantly contributing 2012 starters coming off injuries to maybe hit the field for the first time in 2013, the Return of the Kings will be a compelling aspect of the game for me. From Payton's murky coach-speak after practice on Friday (SOURCE), both PT and P-Rob will get some action, and MAYBE, just MAYBE, Marques Colston will, too. With only two pretend games left, I'd really like to see them look fresh and sharp or at least look healthy and rusty as they shake off the cobwebs and get back to "full-go" status before the regular season begins.

Checkdown # 2

Game 3 of preseason is typically the time that the starters play the longest, so Sustained Success by the Saints Starters on both offense and defense will help us to get a sense of whether what we saw last week was more indicative of the Saints' skill level, or the suckitude of the Raiders.

Safety Valve

Road Test Test Drive. It's time for this team to see what it can do when facing a horde of enemy fans on their feet, screaming and lusting for blood during a crucial third and long. It also could get tough if the Texans get some early momentum that allows the crowd to get rolling and roaring along with it. So, seeing the starters bounce back from an early deficit, sucking the life out of a previously charged up fan base would work, too.

* * *

There it is, in four part harmony. My game focal points. Do you agree with them? What are yours? This is the first game that will be shown live, across the country...how will you be taking it in?

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