Houston Texans Week 4 Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Time to look ahead to the Houston Texans’ second home game, hosting the Minnesota Vikings; a team much less dangerous than they appeared on paper barely a month ago. A team similar to ours, where it was believed they would look stronger than they currently are.

What kind of game should we expect this week? Follow me, Texans fans, and let’s have a look!

Protect the Quarterback

Now… I’m not really sure why I have to say this… *cough, cough* Bill O’Brien & Tim Kelly… but protect your $160 million man! If you haven’t noticed already, Deshaun Watson has been running for his life on play after play.

Enter Darren Fells and Jordan Akins.

These are big boys and could make a huge difference in protecting Watson while giving him good targets. And if you doubt my advice, I have two words for you: Yannick Ngakoue. He lives in the backfield and has had multiple tackles, a sack, and forced fumble in each of the last two games. Considering how little the Texans are forcing turnovers, I shouldn’t have to tell you how important it will be to keep Ngakoue in check.

Sell Out on the Run

If the Vikings are going to win this game it will be on the back of Dalvin Cook. He is the offense so far this year in Minnesota, with an average of more than 6.0 YPC so far this year, and he is always dangerous in the passing game, too. If you question whether you need to sell out on either the pass or the run, the answer is the run. Forcing Kirk Cousins to air it out with his limited receiving corps is the preferred option over Dalvin Cook’s rushing ability. If the defense is permitted to rush more than four players more than a handful of times a game, we could see some real difference makers in this game. Force 3rd-and-long situations, rattle the offense, and force mistakes. The more Dalvin Cook can be forced away from the play calling, the stronger this Texans team will be.

Speaking of making mistakes…

Let’s See Some Turnovers

Part of the problem this year has been the lack of turnovers. Through three games, the Texans have zero turnovers. You read that right: not one time has that defense busted up a play to cause a turnover. This must change, immediately. You cannot expect the offense to win when you are bending non-stop, letting the opponents march down the field, losing the time of possession battle, and not getting the ball back. It’s a constant recipe for disaster, as we have all seen. J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Bradley Roby, Justin Reid… someone has to step up, make a big play and get the ball rolling! Don’t let up! This defense needs a fire lit under their ass worse than I do about getting to the gym! And I believe, with the surprisingly underperforming Vikings, they have their best chance so far this season. Hit their O-line hard and make it happen!

What to Expect

This is easily the best game for the Houston Texans this year. The Minnesota Vikings’ O-line has been awful, their offense has been subpar, and even the usually-vaunted Vikings defense is quite underwhelming this year.

I initially predicted that the Texans would lose this game and start the season 0-4; I actually really like their chances this week.

At home, with a hometown crowd cheering, a hunger to get right, and a chance to start October off on the right foot — Deshaun Watson will outduel Kirk Cousins and lead the Texans to a victory. Neither of these defenses are particularly strong, and both offenses will put up points. I actually like the Texans to score more than what is projected and outlast the Vikings here.

Prediction: Texans 34, Vikings 28

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