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Scouting the Saints 2015 Opponents: Week 11 vs. Texans

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The Saints will face the Texans for the second time in 2015 looking for better results this time around.

Drew & J.J. Chop it up
Drew & J.J. Chop it up
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints face the Houston Texans in Houston on Sunday, November 29th, 2015. This match-up will be the second time these two teams will square off in 2015. Good news for the Saints here is that 'Mr. Happy Socks', Charles James II, won't be around to torch them for long touchdown runs. However, it is possible that current starting running-back, Alfred Blue, will have given way to Arian Foster. Keenan Lewis should be back at this point as well, along with Jairus Byrd and C.J. Spiller, so both squads should be at full strength. The home team has won in the previous regular season games, so that factor favors Houston for now.

Series Match-up All-Time

Saints 2 - Texans 1

Last 3 Games

(2011-2012) Saints 40, Texans 33 @ N.O.

(2007-2008) Saints 10, Texans 23 @ HOU

(2003-2004) Saints 31, Texans 10 @ N.O.

Similar to the series with the Tennessee Titans, Saints-Texans only happens every 4 years. Factor in the short amount of time the Texans have been in the league and what should be a natural rivalry never seems to materialize. Regular season home wins is the recurring theme, but this game could go either way. If either team is on a hot streak, it will probably continue here. If both teams come in with momentum, the advantage still goes to the Saints because of the offense.

2014-2015 Texans Totals

(Saints #1 total offense, #31 total defense according to ESPN)

Total Offense # 17

Passing/YPG # 24

Rushing/YPG # 5

Total Defense # 16

Passing/YPG # 21

Rushing/YPG # 10

Projected Rosters


Saints

Texans


Offense

QB

Drew Brees

Brian Hoyer


Luke McCown

Ryan Mallett


Garrett Grayson

RB

Mark Ingram

Arian Foster

CJ Spiller

Alfred Blue


Khiry Robinson

Chris Polk

WR

Brandin Cooks

DeAndre Hopkins


Marques Colston

Nate Washington


Brandon Coleman

Cecil Shorts

TE

Benjamin Watson

C.J. Fiedorowicz

Josh Hill

Ryan Griffin

LT

Terron Armstead

Duane Brown

LG

Tim Lelito

Jeff Adams

C

Max Unger

Ben Jones

RG

Jahri Evans

Brandon Brooks

RT

Zach Strief

Derek Newton


Defense

LDE

Akiem Hicks

Jared Crick

NT/LDT

Kevin Williams

Vince Wilfork

NT/RDT

Jon Jenkins (4-3)

RDE

Cam Jordan

J.J. Watt

LOLB

Hau'oli Kikaha

Whitney Mercilus

LILB

Stephone Anthony

Brian Cushing

RILB

Dannell Ellerbe (3-4)

Akeem Dent

ROLB

Anthony Spencer

Jadeveon Clowney

LCB

Keenan Lewis (P)

Kareem Jackson

RCB

Brandon Browner

Jonathan Joseph

NCB

Delvin Breaux

Kevin Johnson

SS

Kenny Vaccaro

Quintin Demps

FS

Jairus Byrd

Rahim Moore


Special Teams

K

Dustin Hopkins

Randy Bullock

P

Thomas Morstead

Shane Lechler

Key Texans

Offense

DeAndre Hopkins - D-Hop is on the verge of a huge season, in spite of what is expected to be shaky quarterback play. The departure of wide receiver Andre Johnson and the absence of a complimentary number 2 receiver will increase Hopkins' targets significantly. While Cecil Shorts will draw a bit of attention in the slot, Nate Washington will probably see one-on-one match-ups frequently, allowing opponents to focus on shutting down Hopkins. Some may disagree, but I still believe Hopkins will shine on an offense that will probably go long stretches without significant progress.

Arian Foster - The oft-injured running-back, who seems to glide when he runs, will be back from injury and looking to pound defenses. Honestly, a one-two punch of Alfred Blue and Chris Polk may actually be a better formula for Houston, but Foster is their guy at the moment. When he's healthy, Foster has a definite impact on the Texans success as he takes pressure off his QBs and contributes on all 3 downs when needed. He has also played big in big games ( I tend to remember him in the playoffs, Texans logo shaved into his head, having a big game).

Defense

J.J. Watt - Watt was voted the #1 player in the league by his peers. That says two things about him -1) he is good at what he does and 2) his peers respect the way he does it. There is no doubt that he is as dominant as Ndamkong Suh without the dirty antics. His reputation for swatting passes is widely known and now he's even used on offense occasionally. I'm personally very impressed by Watt and his character as we see it indicates a quality individual. Let's all hope and believe that Zach Strief and whoever is assigned to help him with Watt will have a good game and keep Watt quiet.

Jadeveon Clowney - It's been a few years since Clowney's outstanding play in the bowl game. Years later, we have only seen flashes of the player who seemed unstoppable. He is fortunate to be a member of a very good defense and does not have the pressure of being a stud every play. Given a chance to prepare for this season after missing nearly all of 2014 with a knee injury, Clowney looks ready become the monster of a player that he was once touted as. If Clowney, Watt, and linebacker Brian Cushing are all a go for this game, it will be quite the match-up of explosive offense versus stout defense. Houston - we COULD have a problem!

TL; DR

After a face to face meeting in pre-season in which the Texans handily beat the Saints, this match-up has a bit of excitement to it. While pre-season is not the perfect measuring stick for a team, it can serve as proper motivation for Sean Payton to want to smack our AFC kin around a lil' bit. As far as a coaching is concerned, we know that Payton has done many things in the off-season to change this team for the better (injuries aside). Bill O'Brien is shifting the culture of his team as well. Now in year two of his tenure, he appears to be a fierce motivator as well as relaxed enough to let his ballers ball. As we've covered, a key factor in the outcome of this one will the Saints offensive line against the Texans front seven. By comparison, Saints fans can envy the solid duo of Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph as the Texans starting cornerbacks. Adding promising rookie Kevin Johnson as the nickel and we've got a nice battle between WRs and DBs. There will be a surprise factor in this one I'm sure - thinking Marcus Murphy brings a kick back for six or the Saints score a defensive TD!

Questions and Feedback are welcomed and appreciated. See you in the comments section!