Across the fansided network each week during this season, we will be doing a quick Q&A with the Falcons’ opponents for that week. This week I had a chance to talk with Rob Brokaw from Toro Times about this Sundays match up between the Falcons and Texans.
Jamie Kelly – Obviously losing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart is a sucker punch to the Texans’ playoff ambitions. How do you rate the Texans chances of making the playoffs and making a deep run in January?
Rick Brokaw – Indeed the loss of Schaub and Leianrt is a huge factor in the chances of doing well not only for the remainder of the season but also for the playoffs. As it stands right now the Texans are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs. They would have to lose four of their final five games and lose to the Titans in order to not make the playoffs so their chances are rather good right now.
As far as making a deep run into the playoffs, that is another story. Without Schaub, or Leinart for that matter, I am not sure that they will make it deep this year. However, we have yet to fully analyze QB T.J. Yates’ abilities at the quarterback position. He could come out and surprise many of us but historically rookie QBs have not had a great deal of success when it comes to the playoffs.
JK – Andre Johnson has been out through injury for a while, but made his return last week. How did he look?
RB – Andre’s return was rather quiet last week. He had two catches for 22 yards…that was all. Part of his limited production was due to Yates taking over the offense but Andre also looked like he was still trying to get all of the gears going as well. It was rather obvious that he was ready to play but you could tell that he was a little slower than he had been prior to his injury.
JK – The Texans have the #1 ranked Defense in the NFL. What makes them so good?
RB – A few weeks back I had the opportunity to ask OLB Brooks Reed that same question. His reply to me was something to the tune of the team not playing selfish football. He said that each player was out there playing for his teammates and that they did not want to let each other down. I think that this is a huge part of what is making them so successful this year.
The other thing that makes the Texans so good is the leadership on the defense. FS Danieal Manning and CB Johnathan Joseph came to the team with experience. They were quick to become mentors to the younger players and that made a huge impact. Likewise, ILB Brian Cushing has become a physical and vocal leader for the team and he is constantly pushing his teammates to be better.
JK – Arian Foster and Ben Tate are both having big years for both the Texans and my fantasy team! How do you rate their chances against the stout Falcons run D that is ranked 2nd in the NFL?
RB – I truly believe that Foster and Tate will have a decent showing against the Falcons. The Texans have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL (#3 according to NFL.com) and they are a huge factor behind the success of the Texans run game.
JK – How do the Falcons beat the Texans?
RB – Right now the best way to beat the Texans is to shut down their run game. With Yates at the helm the passing game is going to be more of an experiment than a sure thing. Yates is unproven in the NFL and his accuracy and arm strength will play a huge part in this game. However, if the Falcons shut down the Texans run game then Coach Kubiak will have no choice but to implement the pass with his rookie QB…that is where things could get interesting!
Offensively it would be hard to say that the Falcons can beat the Texans. Matt Ryan is a great quarterback but the Texans have the best defense in the league. If he can find a way to spread the ball around and get some momentum going in his favor he could put up some touchdowns. If he cannot get the pass game going, and if the Falcons run game does not get going then they will have to beat the Texans on defense.
JK – Vice Versa. How do the Texans beat the Falcons?
RB – For the Texans to beat the Falcons they MUST establish the run game. The Falcons have had seven games where they have held the opponent to less than 100 yards rushing. Of those seven games two of them had less than 50 yards of rushing by the opponent. The Texans must overcome the Falcons dominant rush defense in order to be successful.
Also, the Texans must find a way to force turnovers by the Falcons. In each of the Falcons’ losses they have had a negative turnover ratio. The Texans must find a way to get the ball away from the Falcons and convert those turnovers into points. Likewise, the Texans must secure the ball and prevent the Falcons from obtaining good field position.
JK – Finally, your predictions for the game. Please give a score.
RB – Eight times this season the Texans have held opponents to less than 20 points. Three of those times the opponents scores were only single digits. This has been due to the great success of the Texans defense and dominant run game. That being said I am calling this game in favor of the Texans due to home-field advantage.
26-21 to the Texans.