Houston @ Philly (Thursday Night Preview)

 

By Steve DeAngelo

 

The Texans finally got a win after back to back brutal defeats to the Jaguars and Jets, blowing both games in the final seconds. You expected them to win against the Titans who were starting a rookie QB named Rusty White. The Eagles on the other hand lost on the road in Chicago as the Bears got it done on both defense and offense. This could be a tough spot for the Eagles. Even though they are home, they are coming of two physical games against the Giants and Bears now have to play in a short week. Meanwhile the Texans had a cakewalk last week against the Titans. Still the weakness of the Texans secondary should allow Vick and Co. to move the ball at will and preserve the victory.

 

Matt Schaub hasn’t been what owners expected this year with only 15 TD’s and it’s mainly due to not having the true 2nd option also with Andre Johnson playing hurt most of the year. Kevin Walter is not reliable either is Jacoby Jones. Owen Daniels was dead-solid for the Texans last year before he got hurt but has struggled to return from his ACL injury. Andre Johnson is the lone ranger at receiver in that offense, but even he hasn’t met expectations with only 5 TD’s this year. You expect more from the #1 ranked Fantasy Wideout coming into this season. Still, Johnson should finish with around 12-1300 yards and 7-9 TD’s with close to 100 catches. Let’s not forget about Joel Dreesen who has produced at TE in the absence of Daniels. Dreesen has started 6 games and has 22 catches for 336 yards and 4 TD’s. Schaub likes to target Dreesen especially since Walter and Jones struggle to get open. Dreesen has scored a TD in his last 2 games.

The Eagles secondary struggled last week allowing 4 TD’s to Jay Cutler and 247 yards. That however was without Asante Samuel playing and the Bears took full advantage. Samuel is a Game-Time decision Thursday, but since he practiced all week he should play. If Samuel Plays I am not so confident in Schaub tonight, if Samuel doesn’t play then I think the Texans can pull of the upset on the road here. The Eagles lead the league in Interceptions at 19 and Samuel has 7 of them. Samuel will disrupt the Texans passing game and easily could take one to the house. Think about it, The turnover prone Jay Cutler was without a pick last week , if Samuel is playing he’s throwing at least one, which could of changed the game. The Eagles rank 13th in passing yards per game at 214 so I wouldn’t expect a ton of yards from Schaub tonight. However the Eagles have let up the 4th most passing TD’s at 22 so expect Johnson or Joel Dreesen or possibly both to score. Also the Eagles are letting up the 27th most points to Tight Ends, so good things could be in store for Dreesen tonight.  Stay away from Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones. Owen Daniels has already been ruled out so forget about him.

Will the Eagles be able to stop Arian Foster? Well they couldn’t stop Matt Forte last week, so I highly doubt they will be able to stop the league’s leading rusher. Foster should easily get over 100 total yards, his rushing numbers could only dwindle if his defense let’s this game get out of hand which is possible. Foster should finish with about 120-150 total yards with at least one score.

 

Despite Michael Vick continuing to put up pretty solid numbers, defenses have done a much better job against him in recent weeks or it could be he actually faced two good defenses in the Giants and Bears. This week he gets a much easier test vs the 2nd worst secondary in the league in Houston. They would probably still rank last if they didn’t face Rusty Smith last week. The Texans are letting up 286 yards per game and have let up a league high 25 TD’s through the air. They have also let up the most 40+ yards plays all year at 13. This is the perfect recipe for Vick, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Could we see a repeat of what we saw vs the Redskins? Possibly, although I wouldn’t expect that type of onslaught. The Texans at least have Mario Williams who could disrupt Vick a bit, but not enough to effect him as Vick should find open wideouts all day long. Jackson and Maclin have had back to back quiet weeks but expect them to rebound big time tonight. Last week the Bears took away Maclin and Jackson, So Vick went back to his old ways of hitting the tight end and got Brent Celek back into the mix. Celek had a nice game last week with 3 catches for 50 yards and a TD. I would continue to be patient with Brent as he could start to be a factor in these coming weeks. Due to the Matchup, Jason Avant is also worth a look as a flex play tonight. He could easily find the endzone and put up around 50-70 yards.

The Texans are pretty good statistically against the run ranked 9th overall, but that is definitely inflated because people just come out and pass on them. Lesean Mcoy should enjoy a nice game regardless if he get’s it done on the ground or not. Expect over 100 total yards with 3-5 catches and a possible score.

 

In the end this game should be high scoring with the Texans playing catch up most of the night. If Samuel Plays and I expect he will, expect Schaub to throw at least 1 pick his way. Andre Johnson will put up nice numbers as will Joel Dreesen and we could see a TD from both. Vick should have an excellent day as the Eagles bounce back and get a win here against the Texans. Eagles 34 Texans 24

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