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Giants at Texans: 5 questions, answers about Houston

Battle Red Blog’s Brett Kollmann educates us

Houston Texans v New England Patriots
Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Houston Texans are not a team we study incessantly here at Big Blue View. Your New York Giants haven’t played them since 2014. With that in mind, we turned to Brett Kollmann of SB Nation’s Battle Red Blog for an education about the Texans. Here is this week’s “5 questions.”

Ed: Can you tell us how bad the Houston offensive line is? That might make Giants fans feel at least a little bit better.

Brett: The Texans offensive tackle situation is not that dissimilar from your own, though I suppose at least our terribleness has been equally spread among two players and not just concentrated into one unholy abomination of a football player like Ereck Flowers. Either way, no matter who you’ve got starting at either defensive end or rush linebacker this week, they’ve got a good shot to be productive. It’s that bad.

Ed: At Battle Red Blog I’m seeing calls for coach Bill O’Brien’s job. If this season goes bad for the Texans, how much trouble is in O’Brien in?

Brett: Very, very little. He just got extended for four more years, so it would take either an unbelievable disaster like going winless all year, or some sort of personal scandal (which won’t happen) to get O’Brien fired at this point in time. And that’s okay with me - I still personally think he’s a good coach, but the Texans pretty much never start fast under him. Hell, we probably won’t even know what kind of team we have until October, because the first three to four weeks of the season are routinely full of really bad football in the O’Brien era. That’s just kind of how it’s always been, unfortunately.

Ed: I don’t know the Houston roster incredibly well, and many Giants fans are probably the same way. Who are 2-3 guys we might not know a lot about who we should be looking for on Sunday?

Brett: Zach Cunningham is a beast of a linebacker against the run, but he can’t cover worth a damn in the open field so that’s probably Barkley’s best matchup he’ll get all season. Look for him to get a lot of targets just because of that alone. Also look for D.J. Reader, who is quickly becoming one of the most disruptive nose tackles in the entire NFL. So far this year you could argue that he’s been the best player in Houston’s entire front seven, and that’s really saying something.

Ed: If I gave you the opportunity to take any player off the Giants roster EXCEPT Saquon Barkley or Odell Beckham Jr. (because picking one of those guys is too easy) who would it be? BONUS: If you were choosing between Barkley and Beckham who would you take for the Texans?

Brett: Between the two I would definitely take Barkley simply because we already have Hopkins and Fuller, so it’s not like we really need Odell at receiver anyway (he’s great, but that’s overkill if we’re being honest). As far as who I would take that’s NOT Barkley or Beckham, sign me up for Janoris Jenkins. He’s not a better overall player than Landon Collins or Evan Engram of course, but he would fill a bigger need on this roster since Houston is exceptionally thin at corner. We’ve already got Mathieu and Kareem Jackson as a good safety duo when the secondary is fully healthy, and I like some of our young tight ends as well for the long term. Jackrabbit can step in from day one and just be a stabilizing presence outside the hashes, which is really what we need most right now.

Ed: How do you see this season playing out for Houston? If Deshaun Watson can stay healthy they can’t be headed for 4-12 again, can they?

Brett: I think they can challenge for the division if they stay healthy and O’Brien stops making Andy Reid-ish game management decisions late in games, but they are already two back from Jacksonville so climbing back into the race will be tough. I did have them as a wild card team before the season started though, so at least that goal is still reasonably attainable if they can get a win this week. They really can’t drop to 0-3. That would pretty much ruin the season.