With the New England Patriots set to take on the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round, it’s time to take a look at some statistics to note about the Texans offense. The Patriots blanked out Arian Foster last time out, held Andre Johnson in check, and embarrassed Matt Schaub on national television. That’s probably not going to happen a second time, and it’s best to take another look at the Texans stats as a whole this year.
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1. The Texans offense was slightly better than the defense this season, as they had a 0.1 razor-thin edge over the defense in PFR’s SRS, and the offense ranked one spot higher in points per game than they did in opponents points per game (8th to 9th).
2. This isn’t a stat, but there is a huge disparity between the left side of the Texans line and the right side of the line. Both Eric Winston and Mike Brisiel departed for the AFC West this offseason, and they have left huge holes on the right side that can easily be exploited by Rob Ninkovich, the situational pass rushers (Trevor Scott, Justin Francis, and Jermaine Cunningham), and delay blitzes from Dont’ a Hightower. The left side, on the other hand, is one of the best in the league with elite left tackle Duane Brown and solid LG Wade Smith. The middle is manned by Chris Myers, who is a mauling run blocker and one of the elite centers in this league.
3. Despite only picking off two more passes than the number of interceptions thrown this season, the Texans have an excellent +12 turnover differential. The main reason is because the Texans have only lost a fumble four times this season, while also recovering 14.
4. The Texans average a league average 4.2 yards per attempt on the ground, and the rushing attack is led by workhorse Arian Foster who has taken the rock a ridiculous 351 times this season for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns. However, he has averaged a mediocre 4.1 yards per carry since he is terrible in losses. If you can shut down the Texans running game and make them one-dimensional, then you put a strain on Matt Schaub and can easily win the game. It’s not easy to shut down Foster, though, but the Patriots did that the last time out and were able to cruise to a MNF victory as a result.
5. Foster is also a factor in the receiving game with 40 receptions and has only one less reception than No. 2 wide receiver Kevin Walter. Overall, Foster is fourth on the team in catches.
6. Matt Schaub and the Texans offense clearly lean on Andre Johnson, who averages 7 catches for 100 yards every game. He has a total of 112 catches for a staggering 1,598 yards, but Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard held him in check last time out. Dennard covered Johnson after Talib went down with an injury, and I actually think the rookie did a slightly better job than Talib did on the Texans superstar receiver.
7. Schaub has thrown just over 4,000 yards this season with an accurate 64.3% completion percentage, 22 touchdowns, 12 picks, and an average of 7.4 yards per attempt. His 90.7 QB Rating has shown that Schaub has been a solid quarterback, and he is a fringe-top ten starter in this league. The problem for the Texans is that he hasn’t shown that in recent weeks, and he looked awful in the meeting against the Patriots. Schaub needs to step it up, otherwise the Texans are going to be in for another rough day. They can’t always count on Foster to open things up, especially against a dominant Pats run defense.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.