Previewing The 2013 Houston Texans' Regular Season: Week 6 (Rams @ Texans)

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Stick with Battle Red Blog all summer as we look forward to the 2013 season. After a brutal three weeks against top-tier competition, your Houston Texans come home to play the St. Louis Rams and their old nemesis Jeff Fisher. How miserably will the Texans treat Sam Bradford? Has Cortland Finnegan's PTSD cleared up yet? Get your premature evaluation here.

The last time they played:

Houston 16, St. Louis 13.

In Week 15 of 2009, the Texans were sitting at 6-7 and headed to St. Louis with little to play for other than pride. Meanwhile, the Rams were down to rookie Keith Null at quarterback and were in the midst of a miserable season that would end with just one victory. That 1-15 record would net them Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010, of course.

Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub had their usual productivity. The most productive QB/WR duo of 2009 lit up the Rams with Johnson catching 196 of Schaub's 367 yards. Schaub also hit Kevin Walter for a score in the red zone on a bread-and-butter, play-action bootleg pass.

Not much else to note, really. Catch the box score here and highlights of the game here. Apparently, Antonio Smith has been swinging his ninja sword after sacks since 2009. No one really noticed until 2011 or so.

The Texans are currently 1-1 all-time against the Rams.

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How St. Louis finished the season:

Off Yds / G Off. Pts / G Def Yds / Game Def Pts / Game
Total 329.0 18.7 342.6 21.8
Rank 23rd 25th 14th 14th

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What St. Louis has done this offseason:

NFL Draft

Key Arrivals

  • OT Jake Long, March 17 (four years, $36 million)
  • TE Jared Cook, March 12 (five years, $35.1 million with $19 million guaranteed)

Key Departures

  • WR Steve Smith, April 3 (signed with Buccaneers)
  • DB Craig Dahl, March 16 (signed with 49ers)
  • WR Brandon Gibson, March 15 (to Dolphins)
  • RB Steven Jackson, March 14 (signed with Falcons)
  • WR Danny Amendola, March 13 (signed with Patriots)
  • CB Bradley Fletcher, March 12 (signed with Eagles)
  • Released S Quintin Mikell, March 10
  • Released OT Wayne Hunter, March 6

As good as Steven Jackson has been for years, he never saw his team do better than 8-8. Don't blame it on him, though, as he was a total workhorse for them his whole career. Rams fans will miss him, undoubtedly, but it is rare that a bad team with a new regime gets better with an expensive running back. I'm glad that he finally has a chance to play for a contender.

Obviously, Jackson's release puts even more pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford, who is entering his fourth year in the league and is due $12.6 million in 2013. Head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead have given Bradford a trio of new weapons (Austin, Bailey, Cook), plus two upgrades to the offensive line (Long, Jones). Much like Smithiak's one-year trial run of David Carr, I would imagine Bradford has one more year to prove himself to his new bosses before potentially facing the chopping/trading block. Cutting him in 2014 would cost the Rams more than $10 million in dead cap space.

On the defensive side of the ball, it will be fun to once again watch Andre run over, around and through Cortland Finnegan. The Rams feature a duo of talented pass-rushers in Chris Long and Robert Quinn, who combined for 22 sacks in 2012. Either one could give the right side of the Texans' offensive line trouble. James Laurinaitis is not your average tackle dummy linebacker; he's just as dangerous in coverage as he is in shedding blocks against the run. Also, I love the addition of Ogletree. It will be interesting to see how effective he can be as a rookie.

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Arbitrary prediction made in June of 2013: Rams 13, Texans 24.

As much as I respect the changes the Rams have made this year, I just can't see the Texans losing to the Rams this early in the season. Stranger things have happened, of course. Should the game turn into a shootout, the Texans have all the firepower necessary to keep up. Otherwise, the run game should wear down the Rams for a slow, almost boring victory.

I am not a believer in Sam Bradford (sorry, AllenOU) and think that he's going to be running for his life against the Texans. Jake Long has been a great left tackle, but his decline is well-documented. Still, he'll be the best left tackle they've had in quite some time. It'll be interesting to see if the Rams deploy a spread look for most of the game, as the Texans struggled against it last year. They certainly have the receivers to do so, but again, Bradford isn't the answer for them.

Don't think I take the Rams lightly, though; despite their 7-8-1 record, they finished 4-1-1 in their division. Ultimately, the Texans have more proven talent right now, and it will show on the football field come October.

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Best reader prediction: dbcouver

I don't think any sane Ram fan expects to come out of Reliant with a win...

But we all have the highest hopes we’ve had in a while. Our last 7-8 years have been the worst in franchise history, so our excitement is more because of the real possibility to compete every week. JJ Watt will change a lot of offensive plans for us, hopefully our hurry up offense will neutralize his rush a little. It’s probably true that this year is THE year we see an improvement in our offense, but it’ll have to be solid. We’re not sneaking up on anyone with our rookies, they’re just…..well rookies.

Our run defense is better than it’s been but is the one area we didn’t really address this off season, other than retaining a couple good defensive linemen in Hayes and Langford. You all know Finnegan will trash talk but he can’t let it dominate his game anymore. He’s got too many young DBs watching him and relying on him to fulfill the new role of leader back there.

My prediction: Rams 24 Texans 24

Do my job for me and post a well-written prediction or analysis. The best one gets put up here.

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Leave your thoughts and predictions below! Keep it classy in the comments, and please remember the community guidelines when posting.

Week 1 Preview - Texans vs. Chargers

Week 2 Preview - Titans vs. Texans

Week 3 Preview - Texans vs. Ravens

Week 4 Preview - Seahawks vs. Texans

Week 5 Preview - Texans vs. 49ers

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