Giants (6-2) Texans (1-6-1)
In their last game on a Thursday night in Philadelphia, the Houston Texans put
up a fight against the undefeated Eagles. At halftime the game was tied at 17-17,
but the Texans failed to score after that, and ended up with a 29-17 loss.
Giants lost in the last game that they played before going on their bye week.
In Seattle, the score was tied 13-13 in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks kept
the Giants off the board, and closed out the game with a 27-13 win.
During the 2011 to 2019 seasons,
the Texans had finished at the top of the AFC South Division six out of nine times.
They won in four of their Wild Card games,
but couldn't get past the Divisional playoff rounds . The 2020 and 2021 seasons
were particularly tough ones for Houston, as they won just four games in each
of those years. Quarterback Deshaun Watson had been at odds with the front office,
and with their decisions in 2020. At the end of the season, he asked to be traded,
and then legal problems arouse.
The result for 2021 was that the Texans signed
quarterback Tyrod Taylor. They also added Davis Mills in the third round of the
draft, and Watson remained on the roster.
In their season opener Taylor won
for the Texans, but he suffered a hamstring injury in the next game. Davis Mills
got his shot, and Taylor was placed on injured reserve. After the season ended,
Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns, and Taylor signed on with the Giants.
Mills had played well enough in his rookie season to be named the starter for
Davis Mills is in his second year as the quarterback,
trying to do his best for a team in the middle of a rebuilding process. The Texans
top wide receiver is Brandin Cooks, who led
the team in receptions and yards last season, as he does now. Cooks was unavailable
for the team and his struggling quarterback in their last game at Philadelphia.
Unhappy that he was not traded away at the NFL trade deadline, Cooks was suddenly
inactive for personal reasons. Currently Cooks is listed as questionable with
a wrist injury.
Mills was also stuck in that game missing his second leading
receiver, Nico Collins, who was dealing with a groin injury. Collins is listed
as questionable for this game. With all that, the Texans put up a good fight against
the undefeated Philadelphia team, thanks to the effort of rookie running back
Dameon Pierce, who is averaging over 4.5 yards per carry. Despite the lack of
a passing attack from the Texans, the Eagles couldn't stop Pierce from topping
that average, and running on them for 139 yards.
Their big problem last time in Philadelphia was allowing every runner, except
quarterback Jalen Hurts, to average at least 5 yards a carry. There were 22 of
them for 120 yards. Hurts ran for 23 yards for a team total of 143 yards Their
big problem this week will be stopping Saquon Barkley, who is third in the NFL
in rushing yards, and he's averaging just short of 5 yards a carry. Daniel Jones
is at 5.7 yards a carry, and he runs with the ball about eight times in games.
That's a bad matchup for the Texans, who have the league's worst defense against
the run, allowing over 180 rushing yards per game. Barkley is also Daniel Jones
leading target for passes, and with 28 catches for 189 yards, has the most receptions
on the team. The Texans pass defense has improved a bit from last year, and they
are 19th in the league. The team has been missing defensive tackle Maliek Collins
for the past few games. Collins was one of their key pass rushers last year, and
is listed as questionable.
Defensive end Jerry Hughes had 2 sacks on Hurts
last game out, and Hughes leads the team with 7 sacks. He'll be a problem for
the Giants when he lines up against right tackle Tyre Phillips, who made his first
start against Seattle, filling in for Evan Neal who was out with a knee injury.
In the secondary, reliable veteran Steven Nelson has done well guiding first round
rookie Derek Stingley, Jr., and second round rookie safety Jalen Pitre, who now
leads the team with 2 interceptions.
The Giants had been winning
games and getting past injuries, but it caught up with them the last time they
played. The offensive line had fielded the same five offensive linemen in every
game, and they kept showing improvement as the season moved on. When left guard
Ben Bredeson, and rookie right tackle Evan Neal were unable to play in Seattle,
the offense took a step back. Daniel Jones was sacked a total of 7 times in the
Giants four game winning streak. He took 5 sacks in Seattle, and his completion
average dipped 10 percent from those other games.
Jones was also missing tight
end Daniel Bellinger, who was injured in their win against the Jaguars. The Giants
passing game is averaging less than 160 yards a game, and Bellinger's 16 out of
18 catches had resulted in 10 first downs, and 2 touchdowns. Saquon Barkley had
his worst game of the season in Seattle, coming up with just 58 rushing yards,
while averaging 2 yards less a carry than his 4.8 average.
The Giants have
had an extra week to figure things out with the offensive line. Wide receiver
Kenny Golladay has missed the last four games with a knee injury, and is listed
as questionable. It would be good to see him back on the field to compliment rookie
Wan'Dale Robinson, David Sills, Richie James, and Darius,Slayton, who leads the
team in total yards, and first down catches. Bredeson, Neal, and Bellinger will
be out for this next game with the Texans.
When a bye week comes along, it's
usually good news as players have a chance to heal up or return to the field.
That didn't work out for the Giants this time, as safety Xavier McKinney sustained
a hand injury while vacationing in Mexico. McKinney has been the leader of the
defensive unit this year, picked by defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to relay
the play calls to his teammates on the field. Julian Love will likely take over
that important role. The defense has been aggressive all year, and has recovered
nine fumbles, which is the second most in the league.
Last time out in the
27-13 loss at Seattle, the Giants gave up the most points in one game than they
have all season. That should not be a concern though, as two special teams punt
return fumbles allowed the Seahawks to score 10 points from very favorable field
positions. For this game, they'll have to clamp down on running back Dameon Pierce,
and if Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins do play,
that's more trouble. Whatever the issues are for him and the team, when Cooks
is on the field, he gives it his all.
The Giants and the Houston Texans have one
thing in common. They each finished last season with a 4-13 record. The Texans
are still struggling to improve on that, while the Giants have surpassed expectations.
With the Giants coming off a bye week, and Houston having a 10 day break after
a Thursday game, both teams have had plenty of time to prepare for each other.
The Texans are the only team in the NFL with just one win, and the Giants
are the favored team for the first time this season. The Giants have won games
with good coaching, and by making fewer mistakes than their opponents. If they
follow along that path, they should be successful on Sunday.
Sunday at 1:00pm Texans (1-6-1)
at Giants (6-2).
Sunday at 4:25pm Cowboys (6-2) at Packers (3-6).
at 8:15pm Commanders (4-5) at Eagles (8-0).
The Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles
are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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