Lions Den: Texans Preview

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The Detroit Lions (4-3) will travel to Houston to take on the Texans (4-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox.

Detroit is coming off of a last minute win thanks to quarterback Matthew Stafford’s late drive and Houston is coming off of a blowout loss to the Denver Broncos.

Stafford will have to have another big game against a stout Texans secondary. Houston ranks in the top five in the NFL in both passing yards allowed per game and passing touchdowns allowed, so Stafford will have to be on the top of his game come Sunday. He is coming off of a solid performance against Washington where he threw for 266 yards and a touchdown.

The running game is where the Lions need to take advantage of the Texans. They rank 29th in rushing yards allowed per game. The problem with that is the Lions rank 24th in rushing yards per game, so that is not a great part of the Lions offense. Dwayne Washington and Theo Riddick are expected to be back this week and that will help the Lions run game tremendously. Washington has been out three games and Riddick has missed two.

Detroit’s receivers will be crucial in this game. They have been great as of late, but they haven’t faced a secondary as good as the Texans’ so far this season. They will have to get separation and make tough catches. Golden Tate is coming off one of his better games this season as he finished with six catches for 93 yards against Washington. Marvin Jones bounced back after a couple of poor weeks with four catches for 94 yards last week.

Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler has struggled this season. After being given $72 million in the offseason, he hasn’t quite lived up to that hype. Osweiler has thrown for 1, 533 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions so far this season. The good news for Osweiler is he gets to play a bad Detroit secondary.

Detroit ranks 23rd in passing yards allowed per game, last in passing touchdowns allowed, last in opposing quarterback rating and last in opposing quarterback completion percentage. If Osweiler is going to turn things around, this is the game to do it.

Texans running back Lamar Miller is one of the best in the business. He is having some shoulder pain, but he is expected to play this weekend. He is coming off of a poor week against the stout Broncos defense only rushing for 61 yards on 11 carries. Houston likes to get him the ball a lot, so look for him to be involved out of the backfield.

Houston’s receivers have struggled because of Osweiler’s struggles, but this could be a game where everything turns around. Detroit has one of the worst secondaries in the league and the Texans have young playmakers at receiver. DeAndre Hopkins leads the group with 36 catches, 390 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Will Fuller is a rookie, but is second on the team in receiving this season with 24 catches, 349 yards and two touchdowns. These receivers could be in for a big day if the Lions secondary doesn’t step up.

Keys to the game

  • Detroit’s secondary will be very key in this game. If they allow Osweiler to get the ball to his young playmaking receivers, they will be in trouble.
  • The Lions have to establish a running game this week. Houston is great against the pass and bad against the run. Stafford can’t do it all for this team, so he needs other people to step up and help him on offense.
  • Houston’s run game against the Lions’ front seven will be big in this game. Houston should be able to pass the ball, but if they are able to run the ball as well, Detroit will not win this game.

Prediction

Detroit’s secondary will lose them the game on Sunday. Stafford will play well, but the Texans secondary will make enough stops to win the game. Houston will throw the ball effectively and run the ball just enough to get the win.

Texans 34, Lions 24