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Texans-Packers Preview: Four Things To Watch

Another week, another four things to watch as the Texans take on the Packers.

San Diego Chargers v Houston Texans
The offense still can't find Nuk on a regular basis.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Last week’s loss made it all more clear that our attempt at offensive revolution isn't working. We just didn’t get down the field enough, and we lost the turnover battle as well. This week we head to Green Bay to take on a Packers team that is a shadow of its former self. Can we end the losing streak, or is just the start of a sad slide to 8-8 or worse?

Either way, here's four things to watch this week:

1. Penalties

After the announcers couldn't stop mentioning the fact we were the least penalized team in the league prior to last week, we promptly went and gave away a mass of penalties. Nine to be exact, plus two more that were declined.

Only two penalties were on the offense (both by Chris Clark); eight were on the defense. Half of those were for being too early on the snap. Looking at you, Jadeveon.

If there's one thing this team doesn't need, it's to be giving away yards. We need all the field position we can possibly get if we're going to stand a chance of winning.

Bill O'Brien has usually been pretty intolerant of penalties given away so cheaply, so I expect a more disciplined display against the Packers. It's worth keeping an eye on. Will we start to see players getting pulled out for giving away penalties?

2. A Tale Of Two Offenses

The Houston Texans have scored more than 24 points in only two of their games this year. On the season, they are averaging 17.6 points a game.

On the other hand, the Packers have scored less than 20 points in only two of their games this season. They are averaging 24.9 points a game.

Either the defense is going to have to play lights out to keep the game within reach of Houston’s offense or, by some stroke of luck, we will actually score a decent amount of points.

The former sounds much more likely than the latter, but I'm not too hopeful.

The Packers certainly favour the passing game more than the running game, which is understandable when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback and your running back is James Starks. Pass defense is also where the Texans’ strength lies, as they surrender only 209.2 yards per game.

Maybe we'll be able to keep Aaron Rodgers in check? Or am I just too optimistic?

3. Third Down

One of the key areas will be between Texans' seventh-ranked third down defense and the Packers' second-ranked third down offense.

In a game where it will be crucial for the Texans’ defense to get off the field early, we will need to capitalise on as many third down opportunities as possible. As previously referenced, we could do without things like Jadeveon Clowney jumping offsides. We have been fairly good in third down situations thus far.

What we really need to see is some more pressure on third down from the likes of Whitney Mercilus and Clowney, who have 7.5 sacks between them. Sacks on third downs truly kill drives and can be the difference between a team kicking a field goal or punting.

4. Will Fuller

After a great start to the year, Will Fuller took a sharp downturn in production and the passing offense has looked even more shaky. Last week was the first time since his injury that Fuller made any real contribution. It was nice to see the first round pick back performing well.

The "big chunk" plays (or whatever you want to call them) are something we need a lot more of, and Will Fuller is prime target number one in that respect. His deep ball threat is something no one else on the team really has.

With an offense struggling to pick up easy yards to keep a drive moving 95% of the time, a big play from Fuller could completely change a game’s complexion.

Keep an eye on Fuller on his post routes. I think that's something we will see more of this week.

What are you guys looking forward to Sunday? Share your thoughts below.