After suffering a heartbreaking and controversial loss in Mexico City on Monday night, the Houston Texans (6-4) are set to face off in NRG Stadium against the San Diego Chargers (4-6) on Sunday, Nov. 27.
Houston has been virtually unstoppable at home, as the Texans boast an impressive 5-0 record when they are playing on their own home turf. Meanwhile, the Chargers continue to come up with new ways to lose, having held a fourth quarter lead in each of their six losses.
Defensively, the Texans will have their work cut out for them, as the Chargers score an average of 29 points a game, which is ranked second in the NFL. On the flip side, the Texans allow an average of 22 points a game which ranks 13th in the league.
Offensively, Houston’s passing attack doesn’t scare anybody. Brock Osweiler hasn’t lived up to his $72 million contract this season and has thrown almost as many inceptions (10) as he has touchdowns (12) this season. This has put increased pressure on Lamar Miller to carry the offense.
Against the Raiders last week, Miller carried the football 24 times for 104 yards and a score while averaging 4.3 yards a carry. Miller will be a key element to Houston’s success or failure in this game, as the Texans will be trying to win the time possession battle by keeping the ball out of Philip Rivers’ hands for as long as possible.
Rivers has completed 229 passes for 2,886 yards and 20 touchdowns this season and will be up to a tall task of taking on a excellent Texans’ secondary, a unit that only allows 207 passing yards a game.
If Rivers gets shut down, expect Melvin Gordon to fight for every yard he earns against Houston’s front seven. Gordon came back to life in 2016 after failing to find the end zone once in 2015. He has racked up 838 yards on the ground while scoring nine rushing touchdowns.
However, if Vince Wilfork has things his way, Gordon will be getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage early and often, which would essentially assure San Diego would drop yet another game. Wilfork, who won two rings with the Patriots, still has the size and agility to give opposing running backs nightmares.
While losing J.J. Watt, who is arguably the best player in the NFL, was a major blow to Houston, Jadeveon Clowney has helped stop the bleeding, recording 39 tackles, three sacks, and a pass defensed in 2016.
In order for Houston to remain undefeated at home, the Texans will need to establish a dominant ground game and will need to hold Rivers at bay. San Diego won’t make it easy, but the Texans should improve to 7-4 once this game is over.
Prediction: Texans over Chargers 20-16