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Texans vs. Lions Preview: Four Matchups to Watch

As the Texans host the Lions this weekend in Houston, let’s look at the important matchups to keep an eye on.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Houston’s offense should fare better this weekend against the Lions’ defense.
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans’ bout with the Lions’ this weekend at NRG Stadium will be a chance for Houston to bounce back from a terrible offensive outing at Denver. The Texans will have the upper hand on defense, with one of the highest ranked pass defenses in the league, while Detroit has struggled to stop both the pass and the run this season. Here are a handful of the top matchups to keep an eye on this weekend, as the Texans look to get back on track at home.

1. Detroit’s run game vs. Houston’s run defense:

This week, Detroit will see the return of both of their starting backs from injury. Theo Riddick had a huge game against Philadelphia in Week Five, including two TDs through the air, before missing the next two weeks. Dwayne Washington will regain his work at the goal line; he was poised to take a heftier number of carries before he was injured. Houston, on the other hand, has one of the worst run defenses in the league (29th overall) and will be tasked with keeping both of these backs in check this week. Preventing Riddick and Washington from breaking loose will be one of the biggest challenges the Texans face this Sunday, and they will need to be successful to come away with the win.

2. Matthew Stafford & Company vs. Houston’s secondary

Containing the Lions’ receiving corps led by QB Stafford will be a top priority for the Houston defense, which ranks second in the NFL against the pass. The Texans’ secondary is now leaning heavily on rising cornerback talent A.J. Bouye after an injury to Kevin Johnson. Stafford has a bevy of talented wideouts at his disposal in Marvin Jones, Anquan Boldin and Golden Tate, all of whom have had solid seasons so far. Locking those receivers down won’t be easy, but it’s certainly something the Texans’ secondary is capable of. If Houston can keep the Detroit passing game in check, they will give Osweiler and Company a few more chances at getting points on the board.

3. Hopkins and Fuller vs. Detroit’s secondary

A lot of the blame for last week will fall on Brock Osweiler and the coaching staff. Osweiler has been bad, but it also seems like he and his receivers are on completely different pages. This weekend, Houston has the opportunity to get back on track against the mediocre Lions’ pass defense (whose secondary now houses ex-Texan Glover Quin).

Osweiler failed to get the offense moving against Denver, but he also didn’t throw an interception for the first time this season. He needs to keep that level of ball protection as he heads into this weekend’s game, and he needs to get Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins involved early and often. Houston’s wideouts are certainly explosive enough to pick apart the Detroit secondary, as long as Osweiler can get them the ball. The Texans have the upside in this offensive matchup with the Lions. They just have to capitalize on it.

4. Lamar Miller vs. the Lions’ defensive line

Miller had a better game than most of Houston’s offense last weekend in Denver, but he still managed only 61 yards rushing. This weekend, Miller will need to really get going against Detroit. He should be able to do some real damage against a team with the 18th overall rushing defense. Miller had a huge performance against Indianapolis in Week Six, finding the end zone for the first time rushing and receiving in a single game. If he can recapture that dual-threat edge against Detroit, Houston will be able to open up the offense and wreak havoc on the Lions.

Tomorrow’s bout with Detroit should be a good opportunity for the Texans to get the offense going again. Houston will have the advantage in the majority of their matchups this weekend, but they need to get everyone on the same page offensively.

What are your thoughts, Texans’ fans? Are there any other matchups or players that you think will be key to a Texans’ win this weekend? You can use the comments section to make predictions and discuss all things Lions and Texans. Here’s hoping for a better outcome than last week.