2002 Record: (7-4) 12.01.02 | 3:05pm
November 28, 2002
Break Out The Brooms
by Jimmy Mohr
The Texans look to sweep the season series with the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday at Reliant Stadium. The teams have taken completely different paths since their first meeting in week seven when the Texans embarrassed the Jags in Jacksonville. The Texans have lost two in a row; the first to the formerly winless Bengals and then to the Titans, scoring 13 points in the two games combined. The Jaguars split their last two games and looked impressive last week against the Redskins, whipping them 26-7. The win moved the Jaguars back into playoff contention and kept them two games behind the AFC South division leaders.
The Jaguars have won only once on the road this season, a victory in Kansas City in week two. Their next two are in Houston and Dallas; anything less than two road victories would most likely end any legitimate shot they have at the playoffs. With this in mind, the Jaguars will be the team with all of the motivation going into this Sunday’s game. Furthermore, they do not want to let the expansion Texans sweep them.
The Texans are competing for the first pick in next year’s draft. The remaining schedule is brutal; each opponent will likely be fighting for a playoff spot. Head coach Dom Capers has to somehow motivate his troops or face the possibility of a 2-14 inaugural campaign.
The Jaguars and Texans are evenly matched on defense; the Texans are 11th overall while the Jaguars are 15th. Jay Foreman and Jamie Sharper combined for 20 tackles in the first meeting when the Texans limited Fred Taylor to 106 total yards. A similar defensive performance is required in this week’s contest; the Texans are 6th in the league against the pass but only 22nd against the run. They will need to concentrate on limiting Taylor’s all-purpose yards.
The Texans offense is ranked at or near the bottom in every category; in fact the offense is synonymous with sacks, penalties and three-and-outs. An offensive outburst in any of the remaining games would go a long way to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jacksonville represents the first step in proving that the cellar of the AFC South is not where the Texans will be for long.
When the Texans have the ball…
David Carr will have his work cut out for him on Sunday. The Cowboys defense is salivating at the chance to throw everything they can at him. The Cowboys will mix their coverages in an attempt to confuse him, and expect them to blitz early and often. With an offensive line missing starters Tony Boselli and Ryan Young, the Texans will have to rely on rookies Chester Pitts and Fred Weary to fill the void. The running game will have to succeed to take the pressure off Carr. His knee is already banged up after the Buccaneers made mince meat out of him. If Carr is forced to drop back and throw all day, Tony Banks had better be ready to play.
When the Cowboys have the ball…
The Cowboys’ offense is successful only when Emmit Smith is productive. Quincy Carter is incapable of carrying the offense with his arm; his strengths are speed and mobility. The Texans need to stack the line and force Carter to beat them in the air. Emmit is not the back he once was, he is now average to slightly above average at best. He was dropped behind the line more times last year than any other in his career. He also becomes frustrated easily; if the Texans stop him early, watch for him to pout on the sideline.
1. Stop Emmit
If the Texans can shut down the Cowboys’ ground attack, their chances of winning greatly improve. With the loss of Raghib Ismail, and with Reggie Swinton out, the Cowboys will have to rely on a young group of receivers. Ken Yon Rambo and Antonio Bryant will have to deal with the veteran DB’s of the Texans.
2. Keep Carr out of trouble
Last week, David Carr was running for his life. Injuries aside, the Texans must find a way to protect their rookie QB. If the running game falters, screens and short timing routes may be the only way to keep Carr on the field.
3. Win the field position battle
Neither of these offenses is expected to light up the scoreboard. This game will come down to who wins the special teams battle. The Texans need KR/PR Jermaine Lewis to step up big. One or two long returns could turn out to be the difference.
Kris Brown v. Billy Cundiff
This game will probably come down to field goals. Kris Brown is trying to recover from a dismal season with the Steelers last year; look for him to atone for his lack of production. Cundiff is, well, who is this guy anyway? Two weeks ago, he missed from 23 yards as time expired against Carolina and still won the kicking job. What a country! Please let the game come down to this guy having to make one from anywhere.
Dom Capers v. Dave Campo
These two defensive minded coaches go head to head with drastically different agendas. Dom Capers would be pleased to come away with a solid effort, win or lose. Dave Campo needs to win to save his ass. A loss to the Texans will most certainly lead to a losing season for the fourth consecutive year. Let alone losing to an expansion team from Houston. Jerry will make Campo walk back to Dallas if they lose.
Texans v. emotion
The crowd is going to be loud and raucous and the adrenaline will be flowing probably like it’s never been before, so the last thing the Texans want to do is expend all that emotion and come up empty. They need to jump on the Cowboys early and knock the life out of them; give Reliant a reason to stay loud and raucous and for the adrenaline to keep pumping.
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: Two in a row? Eh, not yet. Colts smack two good teams on the road and are rounding into playoff form. Colts 31, Texans 10
Dave: Their defense has enough to bail out their fraud QB. Cowboys 19, Texans 10
Jimmy: There is no way in hell I could ever pick the Cowboys to win. Texans 13, Cowboys 10
Keith: Texans still find that first winning streak to be an elusive target. Colts 20, Texans 10
Ric: Classic trap: Texans sandwiched between road games against Denver and Tennessee… but it’s not gonna happen. Colts 24, Texans 13
Warren: I have yet to hit on a prediction of a Texans win, so why start now? Colts 23, Texans 17
2002 Regular Season Records Bob 7-4; Dave 4-7; Jimmy 5-6; Keith 8-3;
Ric 8-3; Warren 5-6
TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr ? ? ? ?/? TEAM ? ? ? ?/? RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Allen ? ? ? ? TEAM ? ? ? ? REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford ? ? ? ? TEAM ? ? ? ? COLTS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Carter ? ? ? ?/? TEAM ? ? ? ?/? RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Hambrick ? ? ? ? TEAM ? ? ? ? REC NO YDS AVG TD Bryant ? ? ? ? TEAM ? ? ? ? PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review