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Testing The Texans: Four Keys To Facing The Intriguing Giants

In case you missed it, the Texans haven’t gotten off to a hot start through the season’s first nine weeks. Close games and costly mistakes have plagued the Texans, and they will look to stop their losing streak against the New York Football Giants. While unlikely, there will be several keys to developing a solid game plan to stop Saquon and get the offense started against a stout Giants’ defense.

Texans Should Sell Out To Slow Saquon

I would have loved to put “Stop Saquon” in the title, but the level Barkley has been playing at this year seems unstoppable. Saquon has been having a lethal season on the ground and through the air. While stopping the run entirely is unrealistic, the Texans can attempt to bait Daniel Jones into throwing to his weak receiving core and not to his superstar running back.The main factor will be letting the corners play aggressively and pulling the safeties up to help make the checkdown look less attractive.

Tackling will also play a large part in this game, as this has emerged as an area of weakness. Initial contact must slow and hinder the ball carrier, if not end the play altogether. Arm tackles will not suffice against Brian Daboll’s well-coached squad, so the defense needs to hit and hit hard.

Texans head coach Lovie Smith when I asked him about getting back to the fundamentals of tackling: “We’ve been getting back to the fundamentals. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen, simple as that.” #Sarge #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) October 31, 2022

Calling The Texans: Lights, Camera, Play Action

It’s no secret that the Texans’ offense runs through Dameon Pierce. It’s also no secret that Dameon Pierce runs through every defender. Leveraging the emphasis that the Giants’ defense will put on stalling Pierce’s offensive rookie of the year campaign should open windows for Davis Mills to make throws to keep the offense alive. With the additional news of the recent injury to Xavier McKinney, the play action should be adequate for the Texans’ offense moving forward.

Davis Mills proved last Thursday night that he could roll out and make tough throws. Add in that Nico Collins may be returning from injury, and Brandin Cooks looks to have rejoined the offense, and the passing game should only take a step forward compared to previous weeks. If Mills can protect the ball, Hamilton may attack the “G-Men” through the air.

DAVIS MILLS WITH A DART TO TIE IT UP 😱 (via @NFL) — B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 4, 2022

Texans Keep The Change, Drop The Dimes

I haven’t believed in “Danny Dimes” in previous seasons. He’s been generally underwhelming and inconsistent, but Daboll has brought the best out of him. Andrew Thomas has been a big part of Jones’s improvement, with the rookie tackle playing at what most consider an all-pro level this year. In addition, Jerry Hughes has been having a great season, and you can expect to see him lined up against Thomas for most of the game.

The Giants are 1st in play-action percentage this season. Being able to play aggressive and sell run on PAP as often as he does w/his size, length and play strength is a great way to set up Andrew Thomas for success. Fun to watch and great seeing OL put in good positions. — Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) October 25, 2022

The second focus for the line will be playing smart, not just fast. Daniel Jones has an undeniable set of wheels; when he hits the open field, it can be deadly to defenses. The linebackers will have to read the play early, trust their instincts, and rely on their young members to make plays when needed. If Saquon draws too much attention, expect to see designed spaces for Jones to start scrambling.

Conclusion: If The Texans Win, What Will It Cost?

The actual cost of winning is hard to describe for the Texans at this point in the season. They currently hold the first overall pick in the 2023 draft, and many fans want to see this draft position maintained. While premium draft picks are excellent, the Texans desperately need a notch in the win column.

Lovie Smith needs to instill confidence that his defensive style still has a place in the league, and the young core of players that Houston has acquired needs to feel like the team is headed in the right direction. The Giants offer the chance at a “get right” game that the Texans desperately need.

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