You know the drill by now, every week we ask a writer from the site of our opposing team five questions about their season and this week's game, and this week, Scott Barzilla is joining us from Battle Red Blog.
So, without further ado, let’s hope into this week's interview with the enemy.
LH: From an outside perspective, C.J. Stroud seems like he’s been balling out. Is he exceeding your expectations so far this season and what would you say is his best attribute?
SB: Stroud has far exceeded just about everyone’s expectations. His best attribute is his poise. He doesn’t get rattled and learns quickly from mistakes. He is extremely accurate. He reminds me a lot of a young Drew Brees. He doesn’t have a cannon, but his arm is strong enough. He’s not freakishly athletic but he is athletic enough. He plays more on schedule than any Texans quarterback since Matt Schaub.
LH: I believe Stroud just set the record for most pass attempts without an interception to begin a career. He now has to face a Saints defense that has forced seven interceptions through five weeks. Do you think he can keep that streak alive, or do you think the Saints corners can bait him into some mistakes?
SB: He has thrown one or more throw a game that should be picked. Realistically, it will happen one of these days. I’m thinking this week is as good as any. Stroud is really good at getting the ball out quickly. The key for the Saints will be getting him off schedule. He hasn’t shown an ability to make many plays during those times unlike other QBs around the league. The key for Stroud will be to keep throwing it away and not forcing it into coverage.
LH: DeMeco Ryans has this team sitting at 2-3 through five weeks. A lot of people predicted the Texans to be one of the worst teams in the league before the season began. What has Ryans done so far that has made this team exceed expectations so far this year?
SB: The simplest thing he’s done is give this team an identity. They play hard and usually pretty smart. Typically, they try to dictate the action. He doesn’t have the horses yet to do what the 49ers do, but that’s the direction he’s headed. Record-wise he is about where he should be. Most betting lines had them at six or seven wins. That feels like a good landing spot for this team.
LH: Some more rookie talk...But Henry To’oTo’o leads the Texans in combined tackles by a pretty wide margin and Will Anderson seems to be having a pretty good start to his career as well. Do you think these two can be cornerstone pieces in Ryans’ defense and what are your expectations for them moving forward?
SB: To’o’to’o is more limited physically but he’s a smarter player. He’s a lot like Ryans was as a player. Anderson has some growing to do in terms of rushing the passer, but he has the best motor we have seen here since J.J. Watt. He defends the run better than we thought he would. Fred Warner and Nick Bosa seem way too lofty a standard, but maybe they can be similar in style. Christian Harris might be a Warner if he can tap into that potential.
LH: DraftKings Sportsbook has the Texans as 1.5-point underdogs. Do you think they can cover or will the Saints veteran team be too much for this young Texans squad?
SB: This is the first time in my time here that I can say I have no idea what will happen. My wife is a Louisiana transplant and a huge Saints fan. I used to piss her off and take the Saints during our matchups because I had no confidence in the Texans. They played good enough in spots to win this past week. I think they will do it again and watch everything come down to the wire. I’ll take the Saints 24-21 in a closely fought game, but I honestly don’t feel comfortable putting any actual money on it. 1.5 points might as well be pick ‘em’ and that’s where I’m sitting as we speak.
Thank you again to Scott for joining us this week, you can check out some more of Scott’s work here.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.