The Texans made the decision to fire Lovie Smith this offseason in favor of former Houston and San Fransisco Defensive Coordinator, DeMeco Ryans. The former Texans linebacker is a defense first, offense second type of coach, and that has shown through five games.
With just one offseason to begin rebuilding this Texans roster, Ryans already has Houston as a top 15 scoring defense. The Texans rank 11th in the NFL, allowing 20.0 PPG through their first five matchups, and just 14.7 PPG over their last three.
A week ago, I would’ve looked at that stat and predicted the Saints would score maybe 10-14 points on offense, but after a week where it really seemed like Pete Carmichael listened to the fans and media and actually called some creative plays and used pre-snap motion, I think we could score 20.
Don’t get me wrong, the offense still has a lot of work to do to reach their full potential. The Saints only totaled 304 yards of offense, but that was partially due to their defense getting them in good field position for a majority of the game.
The major difference we saw against the Patriots was the Saints ability to score touchdowns in the red zone. They went 3-4 on touchdowns in the red zone last week, a drastic improvement from the first four games of this season.
While Houston is tops in the league in scoring defense, they’re towards the bottom half of the league in passing and rushing yards allowed per game. They seem to be relying on a bend-but-don’t-break mentality this season, and to their credit, it’s been working for them.
Offensively, I expect the Saints will be able to move the ball down the field, but the question is will they be able to punch it into the end zone once they get close?
Houston ranks 22nd in the NFL, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 58.82% of their red zone drives. On the flip side, the Saints rank 26th in red zone offense, scoring TDs on 43.75% of their red zone drives.
Basically, we have a matchup of bad and worse when it comes to the red zone. Pete Carmichael is going to have to build on his play calling from last week if he wants to find success in the red zone against the Texans. Whether it’s just some pre snap motion to get the defense moving, a shovel pass to the tight end, a jump ball to Jimmy Graham, I don’t care, just do something that can confuse a defense and give Carr an easy read in the red zone.
I could see this game going two ways for the Saints offense. One, Pete Carmichael calls another solid game, and the offense continues to slowly become more cohesive. Or option two, he gets too comfortable and calls another sloppy game and we’re back to square one.
I’m not going to give any prediction on what the Saints offense will look like this week, because again, it’s hard to tell, but let us know in the comments what you want to see from the Saints offense against the Texans!
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