Considering the way the Houston Texans are playing, this might not sound like much of a bold prediction. However, they’ll go up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, and against that bunch, nothing is easy.
The Texans are coming off a tough battle with the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, but they’ll return home with an undefeated record nonetheless.
This one has the potential for a shootout, but Houston actually matches up pretty well with the Pack. Second-year phenom J.J. Watt leads the NFL in sacks with 8.5, and he’ll guide an aggressive defense that should be able to put pressure on Rodgers early and often.
In addition, Matt Schaub controls a fully competent offense that includes an elite run game and an effective passing game. Arian Foster is up to his old tricks, and tight end Owen Daniels has quietly had a terrific year.
Meanwhile, running back Cedric Benson is out for the Packers according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, meaning Alex Green and James Starks will likely split carries in the backfield.
In the words of Seifert, the Packers “are back where they started” at the running back position—that is, searching for a dependable ball carrier.
Benson’s presence was important because it helped make the offense multi-dimensional. Green Bay’s offensive line has already given up 15 sacks, including five in the second half against the Colts last week (per USA Today).
Without facing the threat of a strong running game, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be dialing up blitzes and putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers.
It’s hard to imagine the Pack being 2-4, but after Week 6, that will be the case.
Prediction: Texans 34, Packers 21