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Countdown To Kickoff: Houston Texans v. New Orleans Saints

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The Texans and Saints are getting ready to kick off at NRG Stadium. Talk about the game up until 7 p.m. CDT on Battle Red Blog.

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans
Will we be seeing more of Akeem Hunt today?
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start last week, the Texans came from behind to comfortably take command and secure a victory over the 49ers. This week, it’s the turn of the New Orleans Saints to take on the Texans, this time at NRG Stadium. The Saints had a rough go in their first preseason game, losing to the Patriots 34-22. The Saints turned the ball over four times, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Needless to say, the Saints will be looking for a better performance, while the Texans will be looking to iron out some of the kinks from last week and hopefully keeping their winning ways going.

WHO TO WATCH FOR:

  1. Michael Thomas, Saints
  2. Tony Bergstrom, Texans
  3. Jadeveon Clowney, Texans

I’m going to reserve the next few hundred words of this post to talk about how freaking good Michael Thomas is. Thomas is a rookie second round pick out of Ohio State who impresses the crap out of anyone who gets to watch him. Even the Texans’ own all-world wideout, DeAndre Hopkins, has seen real potential in Thomas . What’s warranting all this hype? Thomas hands are like Teflon; coming out of Ohio State, he dropped only 5 passes in his final two years there.

There are a pleathora of great Michael Thomas Vines out there. They show insane one-handed catches, showcasing his excellent body control. There’s one in particular that I personally enjoy because it showcases Thomas’ excellent route-running along, with his prowess as a ball handler.

It’s the subtle manipulation of the safety, baiting him out of position before swerving around him for the touchdown. It’s early, but in the Saints’ offense, with Drew Brees throwing the ball and Bradin Cooks playing opposite him, Thomas has every chance to be something really special.

With Nick Martin out for the near future, the Texans’ center position will likely be manned by free agent signee Tony Bergstrom. Bergstrom posted the highest snap count of any offensive player in the game against the Niners. Needless to say, with Martin out, Bergstrom’s going to be needing more and more snaps to mesh with an offensive line that has already gone through quite a bit of change over the offseason and preseason.

Finally, we have Jadeveon Clowney, the football version of an on-again, off-again relationship. Clowney returns to the field after sitting out the Niners game with a knee injury. As usual with Clowney, it’s all about the phenomenal physical gifts that make him such a force on the field. One of the main things worth looking at is Clowney’s development technically. What’s his hand placement like? Can he stop himself getting run past the pocket? Can he display some finesse to compliment his ridiculous strength and speed?

As usual, Inactives will post before the game somewhere between 90 and 30 minutes before kickoff. The first quarter game thread will post 15 minutes before kickoff, at which point this thread will close. Until then, grab a beverage of your choosing and join the comments below as we get ready for the first home game of the year.

Texans vs Saints coverage.