Last week the San Diego Chargers were on a bye, which means that hopefully some key players will be back on the field for this Sunday. This week the Chargers travel to the heart of Texas to play the unpredictable Texans.
Houston is coming off a short week, having played Monday night against the Raiders down in Mexico City, so maybe the Chargers are playing them at the right time.
Like we do every week here at EVT, we’re going to take a look at Houston’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to point out the fact that J.J.Watt is out for the year, so he’s not playing this Sunday.
I know he’s not playing at the same level as he did a year ago when he gained over 1,500 yards, but make no mistake about it, Hopkins is one of the premier receivers in football. He has blazing speed and can adjust to the football in mid-air like nobody else can. So look for the Chargers to have a busy Sunday chasing Hopkins around.
2. Jadeveon Clownney
Clowney’s been on the spotlight ever since his freshman season at South Carolina when he was the number one recruit out of high school. He was drafted 1st overall by Houston and after a couple of injury filled seasons, has finally shown the talent that made him worthy of such high pick. He’s not the pass rusher many envisioned (he only has 3.0 sacks), but the guy lives in the opponents backfield. Last Monday night he single handedly stifled the Raiders rushing attack.
3. Lamar Miller
Houston got Miller in free agency and he’s been worth every penny. Miller is a do it all back as he can run between the tackles and he’s a great receiver out of the backfield. The Chargers scheme should be focused on stopping Miller in the early downs so they can get pressure on Brock Osweiler, which brings me to…
What a difference a year makes… A year ago, Osweiler was the hottest QB in the league after beating New England and taking Denver on a late season winning streak. But after an offseason filled with nasty negotiations, Denver let Osweiler test the market and Houston gave him a $72 million dollar contract. To be fair Osweiler is not awful, the thing is that he just doesn’t do anything at an elite level. Many have argued that although Houston is 6-4, Osweiler is holding the offense back. If the Chargers can put Houston in 3rd and long Osweiler could struggle mightily on Sunday.
Houston has a very solid secondary, but the unit has weak link and that is at safety. Demps gets out of position way too often for a guy playing center field. Sometimes he will play one on one with the opponents TE which could be good news for the Chargers offense. Antonio Gates could be an issue for the Texans. Watch Hunter Henry as well as he can be a problem if he returns healthy this week.
3. Play Calling
I personally think Bill O’Brian has done a good job as the HC in Houston, but he sometimes lacks creativity in his play calling. Houston often gets ahead in games and then they can’t figure out a way to put teams away. To me that’s on the head coach, if the Texans want to be taken seriously in the AFC, O’Brian needs to put together a whole team effort.
So there you have it, the Chargers should be in a dog fight on Sunday. Expect the game to be a low scoring affair, both defenses have a lot of talent, to me the key for the Chargers is to put the game in Osweiler’s hands if they can do that they will have a chance to keep their dying playoff hopes alive.