4 Reasons the Texans' Lock-Down Secondary Will Force the Lions to Run the Ball

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst INovember 20, 2012

4 Reasons the Texans' Lock-Down Secondary Will Force the Lions to Run the Ball

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    This Thanksgiving Thursday, the Houston Texans' stingy defense faces off against a high-powered Detroit Lions offense. The Texans' secondary will look to force the Lions to run the ball, because Detroit is far less dangerous on the ground than they are through the air.

    Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are one of the deadliest quarterback-receiver combinations in all of football, and the Texans will need to keep them from getting into a rhythm. 

    Here's a look at why the Texans' stout secondary will be able to shut down the Lions' passing attack and force them to run the ball. 

Lions' Depleted Receiving Corps

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    The Lions have the most dominant wide receiver in football, Calvin Johnson, but are pretty thin when you look past Megatron.

    Titus Young actually has one more touchdown catch than Johnson does this season, and is third on the team in targets, receptions and yards. But he has reportedly been benched for this week's game, which really weakens Matthew Stafford's options.

    Brandon Pettigrew is a good receiver as a tight end, but is having a mediocre year. Nate Burleson would be the team's third receiver, but broke his leg and is out for the season. That leaves rookie Ryan Broyles, who has some talent but is more of a fourth option than a No. 2 NFL receiver right now.   

Secondary Depth

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    Jonathan Joseph, Houston's top corner, suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday and his current status for the Lions game is up in the air.

    But the rest of the secondary will be more than up for the challenge if Joseph can't go. The Texans' No. 2 corner, Kareem Jackson, leads the team with four interceptions. Brice McCain has shown some promise when filling in and had an 86-yard return after his only interception of the season.

    Glover Quin is a tackling machine out of the safety spot. His counterpart Danieal Manning is skilled both in coverage and against the run. No matter what the Lions throw at this secondary, there is more than enough manpower to handle it.  

Matthew Stafford's Struggles

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    After having one of the best seasons in NFL history last season, Matthew Stafford has cooled off a lot in 2012. His completion percentage is down, his yards per attempt is down and his TD-INT ratio is way down. 

    Stafford simply isn't making good decisions like he did last year, and his confidence seems to be lacking. It doesn't help that he's dealing with a thinned receiving corps, but there's no excuse for his 12-10 TD-INT ratio.

    The Texans secondary will be prepared for Stafford, and will look to exploit his weaknesses and make him force throws downfield.

Texans' Quest for Redemption

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    There's nothing really intricate about this one: The Texans defense stunk it up this past Sunday, and will be looking to redeem themselves against the Lions.

    On Sunday, the Texans faced a weak Jaguars offense taken over by Chad Henne, whom the Texans allowed to throw for 354 yards and three touchdowns.

    The Texans also gave up 236 receiving yards to Justin Blackmon, and will no doubt be looking to shut down Calvin Johnson to prove that they are capable of containing dynamic receivers. Nobody likes getting embarrassed, and the Texans will come out with a vengeance this Thursday.