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Deep Steel Blueprint: The 2012 Houston Texans Strike Back

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Author’s Note: As a refresher, and introduction to new readers, the Deep Steel Blueprint usually takes a statistical look at the week’s match-up to find areas where your beloved Houston Texans can attack their opponent and how the opponent could attack the Texans. I assume this has worked out well since Tim has continued to allow my ramblings for a third season. However, Week One doesn’t usually work well with this extremely scientific methodology, what with the so many unknown variables and no statistical data to guide us. In this instance, we take a look at the game in general.

"Don’t get cocky." – Han Solo to Luke Skywalker after the latter blows up his first TIE Fighter.

I would happen to think Mr. Solo would also say this to the Houston Texans if he were giving a season-opening speech on the morning of Sunday September 9th, 2012. After all, the Texans winning their first AFC South division championship is akin to blowing up a TIE Fighter as they seek to destroy New England, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh’s Galactic AFC Empire.

One TIE Fighter is down, but the bigger goal (Super Bowl championship) cannot be obtained if the Texans get cocky and do not deal with the other TIE Fighters, like their season-opening match-up with the
Miami Dolphins. Let’s look at that game, shall we?

The good guys in deep steel blue and an ugly Nike collar return the NFL’s second-best defense, the NFL’s best running back duo, and a healthy Matt Schaub-to-Andre Johnson connection. The roster has been infused with depth that includes a promising rookie class led by outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, wide receiver Keshawn Martin, and defensive end Jared Crick.

Meanwhile, Miami’s starting a rookie quarterback, Reggie Bush, a gaggle of receivers you have never heard of, and their best lineman has a sprained medial collateral ligament. Defensively, the Dolphins are transitioning to a 4-3, traded away cornerback Vontae Davis to Indianapolis, and their best depth may be recently released Texans safety Troy Nolan.

As if that weren’t enough, the Texans are expected to be a contender for the AFC Championship while Miami should have an opportunity at [University of Southern California quarterback Matt] Barkley. Plus, the Texans are an all-time 6-0 against the Dolphins. Yet Han’s words bounce around in my mind when I think about Sunday’s game.

There are no certainties in life, and I do see a way Miami could win this game. The Dolphins could give Houston’s front-seven a heavy dose of Bush, Jorvorskie Lane, and Daniel Thomas to see if the Texans' run defense is magically fixed by the returns of defensive end J.J. Watt and nose tackle Shaun Cody. If it is not, the Dolphins could eat up game clock and prevent the Texans from getting into an offensive rhythm. Furthermore, the Texans' offense could be stalled as right tackle Derek Newton struggles in his first outing as a NFL starter in pass protection and run blocking. In this perfect storm of suckitude, Miami could eek out its first win over the Houston Texans.

I said could, but I think talent should win out in the end. A hungry Houston football club, fueled by an excited Houston crowd, should overwhelm the young and rebuilding Dolphins. Expect the game to be riddled with Gary Kubiak’s patented zone-stretch run and play-action bootleg and Wade Phillips’ unrelenting blitzes. Still, don’t get cocky, come out aggressive, and avoid the trap, Texans.

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