The San Francisco 49ers (2-2) will try to climb over the .500 mark as they host the Houston Texans (2-2) on Sunday Night Football. Houston which started the season at 2-0 has since lost two in a row including a crushing loss against the Seahawks in a game where they let a 14 point lead slip away.
Both teams began the year with Superbowl aspirations but now find themselves under performing, loosing games that they should win and having players’ only meetings after a few games.
The Texans is one of the few teams that is well balanced. They are in the top ten in both passing and running the ball and there defense allows the fewest passing yards (141) per game. You pretty much know what you’re gonna get give that two headed monster of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The defense led by J.J. Watt pressures opposing quarterbacks constantly and should not miss a beat this week now that it was announced that Brian Cushing passed all his concussion tests and is expected to play on Sunday. With all this sorounding talent, all the pressure falls on starting quarterback Matt Shaub to elevate this team to the next level and so far, he has struggled. In the first four games, Shaub has been sacked 11 times and has thrown six interceptions, three of which have been returned for touchdowns.
The 49ers had a similar problem with Colin Kaepernick early on and instead opted to play smash mouth football in their last games against the Rams. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff continues with this strategy of pounding the other team on the ground when facing a better opponent.
Players to watch: Justin Smith and J.J Watt
These two guys are absolute monsters on that defensive line. It will we important for each of these guys to be a rock against the opposing running games and to somehow create pressure against the quarterbacks.
X-Factor: Running game
The winner of this game will have to have a good day on the ground. This is also tied with gaining an early lead. Both Colin Kaepernick and Matt Shaub have shown an inability to play well when they are shouldering the load. With an early lead, the defenses can turn up the pressure and create turnovers.
Bottom Line: Building on last week
The Houston Texans will be in a bad mood because of what the Seahawks did to them so expect them to come out and punch the 49ers in the mouth. Joe Staley and the rest of the offensive line will have another dominant game and Frank Gore is going to get close to 100 yards again. Look for Colin Kaepernick to make some timely throws and do some damage with his legs also.