Thursday can’t come fast enough for Houston fans, but having it come a little slower for the players would be helpful. Why is Thursday so exciting for the Texans faithful? Well, none other than Brock Osweiler and the 27th ranked Miami Dolphins offense are coming to town to face Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt and the hungry Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu.
Arguably the most immobile quarterback in recent memory, Osweiler’s best impersonation of the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn in downtown Austin will surely allow the ninth ranked Texans defense to notch some even better stats than they did against the Bortling Jaguars (yes, “Bortling” is a verb, mostly used to illustrate poor quarterback skills).
While it would be easy to just say the five keys for success this week are J.J. Watt sacking Osweiler and Jadeveon Clowney sacking Osweiler, Whitney Mercilus strip-sacking Osweiler, Kareem Jackson intercepting Osweiler, and DeAndre Hopkins thanking Osweiler for leaving so Deshaun Watson could arrive, let’s dig in a little further.
1. The Miami Dolphins currently have the 27th ranked defense in the NFL.
If Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue can get their move on, Deshaun Watson and the ever-so-slowly gelling Texans offensive line should have a pretty easy time against Miami, which ranks 29th against the rush, giving up an average of 136.7 yards per game on the ground. While Houston is only averaging 113.7 yards rushing per game, they should fare much better against the porous Miami defense, especially after tuning up against the far stronger Jacksonville defense last weekend.
2. Expect Brock Osweiler to pad his stats – turnover stats, to be precise
With Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph, and Tyrann Mathieu combining for five picks so far this year, going up against a quarterback who has proven he can not only throw interceptions with the best of them but has also actually mastered the art of throwing fumbles should make a highlight reel all by iitself. While Osweiler has only two interceptions and hasn’t fumbled yet in 2018, expect that to change this week. Bring on the GIFs!
3. Tyler Ervin is due to break one for a touchdown.
Ervin has slowly, quietly, grown into the a solid return man and semi-capable slot receiver. Going against a Miami Dolphins special teams unit that ranks dead last in yards given up on kickoff returns, expect this week to be the one where Ervin finally puts some points on the board for the good guys. While Miami’s punt return coverage is a little more solid, Brock Osweiler’s turnovers will keep the punter off the field for the most part.
4. J.J. Watt will get held, illegal-hands-to-the-face’d, tripped and held some more.
We get it. This is an offensively slanted league where penalties against the defense are often overlooked. If the NFL let J.J. Watt play fairly, he’d shatter every record there is for a defensive lineman. That doesn’t mean we have to like it. If the referees called every infraction against Watt in any given game, they might develop repetitive motion disorder from throwing so many flags. While all that cheating is allowed to continue, Watt still has seven sacks and four forced fumbles coming into this week’s contest. Expect that number to rise in spite of the less than sportsmanlike play he’ll have to fight off.
5. The Houston Texans trade for Patrick Peterson.
This one is more of a pipe dream than a prediction. In fact, it probably won’t happen. But could you imagine the instant upgrade the Texans’ defense would receive with Patrick Peterson in the Romeo Crennel mix with Tyrann Mathieu, Justin Reid, Andre Hal, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph? Coverage sacks would increase, interceptions would increase, and the All Field Goal Offense would have even more opportunities to run the score up three points at a time.
There you have it, five things to watch for (well, ten if you count the five guys who are going to make Osweiler wish he was still warming the bench for Peyton Manning).
Give us your list in the comments section.