Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Arizona Cardinals
- QuarterbackThe nightmare just continues to get worse for the Texans. After coming out against the Indianapolis Colts in top form and building a sizable first-half lead, the Texans fell apart in the second half and lost the game. This could have had something to do with head coach Gary Kubiak’s health scare. Case Keenum was fairly solid, but his play in the second half was ineffective.The Cardinals tend to play much better at home, so they should be able to play well for 60 minutes against the statistically tough Texans. Carson Palmer is competitive at quarterback and if the game is close into the fourth quarter, he may be able to pull it out in the late going. Palmer makes mistakes, but he is not going to be intimidated.
- OffenseThe Texans have talent throughout their lineup, but they have injury problems in the backfield. Arian Foster suffered a back injury against the Colts after trying to play with a hamstring injury. Ben Tate ran for 81 yards while playing with broken ribs. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is coming off a nine-catch, 229-yard game and the Texans will try to get him going once again.The Cardinals have not had much of a running game this year, and it looks like Andre Ellington will get the bulk of the carries against the Texans since Rashard Mendenhall is not dependable. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are a solid wide receiver combination. The Cardinals need to do a better job of blocking if they want to get the most out of their passing game.
- DefenseThe Texans have the top-ranked statistical defense in the league, but they have not come through with their biggest plays when the game is on the line. That’s why the Colts were able to comeback from a 21-3 deficit in Week Nine. Defensive end J.J. Watt is not having the season he did last year, but he still leads the Texans with 5.5 sacks.The Cardinals are very competitive on defense and they tend to play much more aggressively in their home games. Linebacker Karlos Dansby is a big hitter who leads the team with 71 tackles, and he also has 11 passes defended and 3.0 sacks. Cornerback Patrick Peterson has 12 passes defended and three interceptions. Rookie free safety Tyrann Mathieu has two interceptions and a forced fumble.
- Special TeamsEven when the Texans were playing well the past three seasons, their special –teams play was a problem area. It has not gotten better this year as the Texans’ coverage teams are below average. Placekicker Randy Bullock is a major liability, having made just 13-of-21 FG attempts this season.The Cardinals should have a huge advantage in special teams in this game. Not only can they cover kicks and punts, but Peterson is a threat to break a long return every time he gets his hands on the ball. Jay Feely has a strong leg and has made 14-of-15 FG attempts.
The Texans are going to have a hard time getting pumped up for this game after playing so well against the Colts and then falling short in the second half. Arizona should be ready to take charge in this game if the Texans can’t play their best game. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor