Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rockets Host Spurs In Home Opener

The Houston Rockets are coming off a 104-95 loss at Orlando on Monday to open the 2011-2012 season under new head coach Kevin McHale. They have their home opener tonight against the San Antonio Spurs who are 2-0 to start the season.

Kyle Lowry led the Rockets with 20 points and 12 assists, Luis Scola added 19 and Courtney Lee score 15 off the bench.

Hedo Turkoglu led the Magic with 23 points as five players scored in double figures, and Orlando got 21 points from Dwight Howard and 20 from J.J. Redick.

The newest Rockets center Samuel Dalembert is expected to get more playing time after scoring 10 points in about twenty minutes against Orlando on Monday after the NBA officially approved his signing earlier in the day. Dalembert was signed to be the starting center and bring a shot blocking defensive presence to the roster.

Tonight's game will be the first of three games in three nights for the Rockets who will travel to Memphis on Friday and return home for Atlanta on Saturday.

Texans Could Get Johnson, Phillips Back For Titans

The Houston Texans will host the Tennessee Titans in the regular season finale this Sunday at Reliant Stadium and they could have WR Andre Johnson and DC Wade Phillips back. Johnson has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury while Phillips has missed the last two games because of a medical procedure. The Texans have lost the last two games and have played the worst they have played this season in those games both without Johnson and Phillips.

The Texans hope that the return of Andre Johnson will also bring back the vertical passing game for T.J. Yates and the offense. In Johnson's absence the Texans have had trouble passing the ball down the field and has settled for short crossing routes. Defenses will have to change the way they play the Texans when Johnson comes back and it could open up the running game and allow the offensive line to keep pressure off Yates.

Wade Phillips will be back coaching the defense from the coaches box after missing a couple of games. In those games the Texans couldn't get key fourth quarter stops.

The Titans will need a win and some help to get the final wild card position but the Texans defeated them 41-7 earlier this season though Matt Schaub was healthy then.

The Texans will need to keep RB Chris Johnson in check as he has had an up and down year but can still be dangerous. 

This game will come down to the Texans ability to move the ball down field through the air with Yates and score touchdowns. They have settled for to many field goals the last few games and that will have to change when the playoffs start. The Texans need to win this game just so they can get some momentum heading into the playoffs.

prediction: 
Texans 20 - 17

Other notes

The Texans had RB Arian Foster and CB Johnathan Joseph selected to the AFC Pro Bowl as reserves this week.

The Defense has been in the top five all season but has just one player from the defense selected. LB Brian Cushing may big the biggest snub on defense as he has returned to his rookie season form making plays and leading the team in tackles.

The offensive line had no Pro Bowlers despite having the leagues best rushing attack. Duane Brown could be the biggest snub on the line and has been the most consistent Texans lineman.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Texans Loose Offensive Edge Heading Into Playoffs

In what may have been the worst performance in franchise history the Houston Texans offense laid an egg against the NFL worst Indianapolis Colts. The Texans lost 19-16 on national television to a 1-13 team whose fans are hoping for the No.1 pick in the upcoming draft. It was the first time a one win team has ever beaten a team with ten or more wins.

The Texans lost the game and most likely saw their chances of a first round bye or the top seed in the AFC slip away.

Arian Foster was the only bright spot with 23 carries for 158 yards and a touchdown. It was T.J. Yates inability to make plays and folding at the least little sign of pressure that has slowed this once top flight offense.

Yates completed 13-16 for 132 yards and was sacked four times but wasn't even looking to stretch the field. It's not all on T.J. Yates as it seemed that Gary Kubiak may have lost some confidence in Yates after his bad play against the Panthers by going with a conservative game plan.

If the Texans are going to be conservative with Yates than maybe they should consider a switch to Delhomme or Garcia.

 They will not win in the playoffs with the kind of offensive approach they had last night. If you have a running back who runs for 158 yards you should not loose the game. Any veteran quarterback who gets production from his back like that would've shredded the secondary.

The defense has to take share of the blame in this game with the penalties on the final drive that gave the Colts one chance after another.

 Kareem Jackson should not be starting at cornerback for this team as he continues to be victimized by opposing receivers including to more big plays on the games final drive.

The Texans will host the Titans in the final game of the regular season and will most likely get WR Andre Johnson back along with Wade Phillips. Lets hope they can make a big difference.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Texans Prepare For Colts

The Houston Texans have no time to think about their loss to the Panthers last Sunday because they have a short week to prepare for the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. The Colts are coming off their first win of the season against the Titans behind former Texans QB Dan Orlovsky.

The Texans will play without WR Andre Johnson again this week because of his injured hamstring but they say he is close to ready and could play in the season finale against the Titans.

If the Texans are going to avoid another game like they had on Sunday they will need to run, run, and run some more behind Arian Foster. Foster has over 1,000 yards rushing and over 600 yards receiving for the second year in a row. Foster has had some of his best games against the Colts but will need to hold on to the football after a string of consecutive games with a fumble.

T.J. Yates played like a rookie against the Panthers and will have to show that he can bounce back with a strong performance against the Colts. Yates threw two interceptions and was short on a number of passes to receivers that was open.

The Colts will see the Foster and Tate combination all night long as the Texans will try to control the clock and keep Mathis and Freeney from getting pressure on T.J. Yates.

The Texans defense will be putting pressure on former teammate  Dan Orlovsky to try and force him into some mistakes. Orlovsky has played in six games for the Colts with a 63.2 completion percentage, 693 yards, 4TDs, 2INTs and has been sacked 8 times, 4 fumbles with one lost.

prediction:
Texans 24-10

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Texans Struggle In Loss To Panthers

The Houston Texans looked more like a team that was just satisfied to make the playoffs than a team fighting for a first-round bye in a 28-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Texans came into this game tied with New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh for the two first-round byes.

Arian Foster fumbled on the first series of the game and the Panthers capitalized with a twenty-six yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith. A. Foster had 16 carries for 109 yards with a touchdown and 58 yards receiving.

T.J. Yates played more like a rookie 5th-round draft choice than he did in his previous two starts. Yates completed 19-30 for 212 yards and two interceptions. Yates was off target most of the day including a deep pass that was under thrown and a couple where a receiver was open but instead he threw to the receiver that was double covered. The Texans finished the game with three turnovers.

The defense didn't play much better finishing with just two sacks and not forcing any turnovers. Connor Barwin became just the second player in Texans history to record a ten plus sack season after sacking Cam Newton in the first quarter. Earl Mitchell had the only other sack on a day when the Texans defense allowed 166 yards rushing on 34 carries by the Panthers offense. Houston came into this game with the No. 1 defense in the NFL but that didn't matter to Carolina.

Cam Newton completed just 13-23 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns but carried the ball 7 times for 55 yards. D. Williams had 15 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown while J. Stewart had another 43 yards on 11 carries. The Panthers offense had the Texans confused on defense several times including a couple trick plays where one resulted in a touchdown.

The Texans don't have much time to dwell on this loss because they travel to Indy to take on the Colts on Thursday. Former Texans QB Dan Orlosvky led the Colts to their first victory of the season today over the Titans. Expect the Texans to bring their "A Game" and blast the Colts.

Texans Look To Continue Streak Against Panthers

The Houston Texans face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers today one week after a dramatic comeback win to clinch the AFC South and their first trip to the playoffs. The Panthers offense might present some challenges today with Cam Newton in the way he can run the ball but the Panthers defense has more holes than a screen door.

The Panthers have had a number of injuries on defense and haven't been able to overcome them the way the Texans have because of their lack of depth. Arian Foster and Ben Tate could both have big days running the ball as the Panthers front seven have been gashed all season.

The Texans will be playing without Andre Johnson again this week so the Panthers may try to bring some safeties up to try and stop the run but the Texans have not been afraid to let T.J. Yates throw the ball down the field. The Panthers only have one solid NFL caliber starter at corner and just 10 INTs this season.

prediction:
Texans 27-16

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Texans vs. Falcons

Rookie fifth-round draft choice T.J. Yates will make his first career NFL start for the Texans tomorrow against the Atlanta Falcons. These are two of the hottest teams in the NFL as the Texans have won five straight and the Falcons have won five of the last six they have played. This will be the third straight game the Texans have started a different QB as Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart are both done for the season. Some were confident the Texans could win with Leinart but not so confident with Yates but I will tell you why Yates will play well and lead the Texans to a victory over the Falcons.

1. Falcons Secondary - The Falcons secondary ranks 23rd against the pass and will be missing CB Brent Grimes who had knee surgery on Wednesday. They could be looking to cheat up to help stop the run so Yates will throw the ball down the field some. I think maybe a play action pass early in the game to try and loosen up the DBs. The Falcons are 17th in the NFL in INTs and 2nd against the run.

2. Falcons Pass Rush - The Falcons don't get to the quarterback that often and rank 27th in the NFL in sacks with just twenty. They had five sacks in a game against the Bears and four last week against the Vikings, so nearly half their sacks have come in two games this season.

3. Falcons vs. Rookie QBs - The Falcons are 8-0 under Mike Smith against rookie quarterbacks. That may not sound good at first glance but those teams didn't have the number one ranked defense, didn't have the best running game, didn't have as much offensive talent, and weren't first in the division and conference.

4. Texans Defense - The No.1 ranked defense in the NFL that don't allow many long scoring drives. The Falcons have a good offense but most of their scoring drives are long.

If Yates can keep from turning the ball over the Texans can win with him. When he came in in the final 2-minutes of the first half against the Jaguars he showed a strong accurate arm completing 3 of his first four passes and leading them to a field goal. His timing actually looked better on that drive than Leinart's did at any time in the 28-minutes before he got hurt. Gary Kubiak said that he shut the offense down in the second half to protect Yates from injury and not having another active quarterback.

prediction:
Texans 24-20