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NFL Preseason 2011: Houston Texans Week 1 Prediction

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NFL Preseason 2011: Houston Texans Week 1 Prediction
Bob Levey/Getty Images

On Monday Night, the Houston Texans will finally participate in something they've been missing since January.

Football!  

The Houston Texans game against the New York Jets at Reliant Stadium will wrap up the first week of preseason play. As it was mentioned in the Texans Preview, the starters will not get much playing time until the second and third games of the preseason.

That being said, there are some players and match-ups to look out for in this first game. Both teams will have their first chance to acclimate to the off-season rule changes, and a host of young players will see their first NFL action. Position battles and depth chart shuffling will be at a premium.

Of course, the new kickoff rule generated a lot of buzz after the Thursday night games.

Young players like Trindon Holliday depend upon Special Teams for a roster spot. The new rules, which diminish the possibility of big returns, make these types of players surplus to requirements.

The Texans struggled all throughout 2010 with field positioning. It will be interesting to see how this rule change helps or hurts them.

Defensive end J.J. Watt—the only rookie starting as of now—will see his first action on Monday against a pretty good offensive line.

Will he only see time with the starters, or will the coaches allow him in more playing time with the backups? Personally, I'd like to see him granted extended playing time to help him adapt to the speed of the NFL. It will be interesting to see how the coaches handle that.

Other drafted and undrafted rookies should see significant time on the field. Look out for Brooks Reed and other OLBs in the Texans blitz packages (if they decide to employ the blitz). How those newcomers handle coverage will be another talking point.

Some battles that will debut Monday night include the FB battle (Casey vs. Vickers), backup RB battle (Ward vs. Tate vs. Slaton), fourth and fifth WR battle (Dickerson vs. Tolliver vs. Williams vs. Townsel vs. Jean vs. Maehl), CB battle (Allen vs. Jackson), the backup CB battle (Harris vs. Carmichael vs. Molden vs. McManis vs. McCain) and the Punter battle (Maynard vs. Hartmann).

The battle for No. 2 WR between Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones won’t heat up before the second and third weeks of preseason.

That backup RB battle promises to be a good one, but due to injuries, some backs may be kept out as a precautionary measure.

Anything else you would like to add, or if there is anything I missed, don’t hesitate and leave a comment below. If you are going to the game, don't forget your responsibilities as fans and enjoy.

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