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Texans-Lions Preview: Four Things To Watch

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All eyes will be on Brock Osweiler again, but what else is worth the watch when the Lions come to Houston?

NFL: Chicago Bears at Houston Texans Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another reason to be concerned about the direction this team is headed. I asked the injury gods to be kind to us last week. They responded by giving out double the punishment with Derek Newton tearing not one, but both his patellar tendons. The possibility of him never playing again is very high. Just great. The injuries are starting to pile up and play certainly hasn't been improving for the Texans.

Against the Lions this week, here's what to watch as the Texans try to bounce back once again.

1. The Rise Of A.J. Bouye

Had I told you that A.J. Bouye would be our best corner at the start of the season, you wouldn't have believed me, but right now it's a very real thing. With Kevin Johnson out, Bouye picked up more snaps and he performed exceptionally, as he has all year. Bouye leads the team with eight pass defensed, he has a sack to his name, and he has been pretty much lock-down at various points of the season.

With Johnathan Joseph not recapturing the form he had last year, A.J. Bouye's continued good play would be a blessing to a depleted secondary. Especially as we come up against a quarterback who’s playing as well or better than anyone in the league...

2. Is Run Defense A Thing These Days?

The Texans’ defense started off pretty hot, causing lots of turnovers and pressure, but even then the run defense was a bit suspect. That came to a head against the Broncos as Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson made it look all too easy.

Jadeveon Clowney has been caught on more than one occasion getting too far upfield on run plays and not setting the edge, which is strange since that is one of things he's best at. Clowney may get lots of TFL, but he has given up too many plays. John Simon and Brian Cushing haven't been the forces they were earlier, and there's also been some iffy tackling to boot.

Against a team averaging less than 90 rushing yards a game in the Lions, the Texans really should have a good day against the ground game. But will they crumble yet again?

3. Over-Complicated Or Just Not Good Enough?

I've tried to steer away from talking about Brock Osweiler in this weekly piece. You've all heard it a million times, from every media outlet possible, from every fan or coworker. Everyone has made sure to remind you about how bad Brock Osweiler has looked. This week, however, I'm going to have to break that trend.

The big question is: Is the game plan being overly complicated and the team just not getting on with it, or is Brock Osweiler just bad?

I'm hoping to see less of those miscommunications where the receiver just isn't on the same wave length as Osweiler. We need to simplify the offense and get functioning and then slowly add the complicating factors in. It's clear that it just isn't working at present.

The thing to watch on Sunday will be how this game is run offensively. Will O'Brien stick to his guns on the play calling or will we see a reversion to the simpler plays that Brock is more effective in?

4. Tight Ends

Against the Broncos, Stephen Anderson drew a pass interference call running a route deep downfield more akin to a wide receiver than a tight end. Aside from that, the tight end spot didn't produce much against the Broncos. Well, neither did anyone else on offense, but that's beside the point.

It seems to be that the tight ends always come up big in home games. Long may that tradition continue, especially this week.

The Lions’ defense has struggled against tight ends this year, giving up seven touchdowns (most in NFL), 40 receptions (4th most) and 423 yards (8th most) to that position. This might be the weak spot that the Texans’ offense could find a way to take advantage of.

That's my look at the upcoming game. What are you looking at this week?

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