Game Preview: Chargers at Texans, Chargers on Defense

First, an apology. Last week was a frantic week for me outside of the blog, which is why there weren't nearly as many posts as there normally are. The same thing will probably happen next week, but luckily that will coincide with the bye week.

Anyways, one thing that I completely whiffed on was doing the Game Preview posts where the Chargers are on defense. Outside of the fact that some of you may have noticed and were annoyed by it, what this means is that all of my "last week" data is missing....so shifts in rankings for the Chargers will be based off of "two weeks ago".

Everyone got it? Good, let's go.

Texans Running the Ball

  • 6th in Yards/Game (136.0).
  • 1st in Yards/Carry (5.3).
  • 1st in Rush TDs (10).
  • 1st in Runs for 1st downs (30.7%).
  • 3rd in Runs for 20+ Yards (10).
  • 4th in Fumbles (1).

If you didn't listen to the BFTB Podcast yet, you missed out on me drooling over Arian Foster for about 10 minutes. I've seen him 2 or 3 times this year and every time I am amazed that he wasn't one of the top picks in the draft. He has everything you want in a RB: speed, strength, quickness, soft hands, etc.

On top of all of that, though, he has the best balance I think I've seen since Barry Sanders. His balance is what helps him to break the most tackles, keeping plays alive and creating big runs. Against the Colts last week, it was almost silly to watch as he juked players out of their shoes simply by changing directions on them. Due to his incredible balance, he is able to change directions on a dime without needing that half-second to shift his momentum or body weight.

If the number above don't scare you, take it from someone who has seen his share of NFL RBs: Arian Foster is not a flash in the pan, he is a really good and dangerous RB that will be a threat to even the best run defenses in the league.

Chargers Stopping the Run

  • 2nd in Yards/Game allowed (83.1), up from 6th two weeks ago.
  • 3rd in Yards/Carry allowed (3.5), up from 6th two weeks ago.
  • 16th in Rush TDs allowed (5), down from 9th two weeks ago.
  • 5th in Runs for 1st downs against (17.8%), up from 8th two weeks ago.
  • 5th in Runs for 20+ Yards allowed (3), same as two weeks ago.
  • 29th in Fumbles recovered (1), down from 27th two weeks ago.

That is obviously a strong running defense that Ron Rivera is fielding. Barring any injury, it should continue to be a strong running defense and more-than-likely will not be caught with it's pants down against the Texans. Despite the fact that I am confident that the Chargers will not yield 200+ rushing yards to Arian Foster, I still think this matchup tilts in the favor of the league's best rushing offense.

Advantage: Texans. 

 

Texans Throwing the Ball

  • 13th in Yards/Game (231.0)
  • 7th in Yards/Attempt (7.4)
  • 17th in TDs (6)
  • 3rd in Passes for 1st down (38.3%)
  • 14th in Passes for 20+ yards (22)
  • 23rd in Sacks taken (19)
  • 10th in Interceptions thrown (6)

Maybe this is me finally buying into the Chargers' passing defense, but I do not see why people are so afraid of this Texans passing offense. If anything, the Patriots passing offense that the Chargers did a decent job of shutting down was more dangerous than Houston's. As a matter of fact, with Steve Gregory back this passing defense will most likely be better than it was against New England (for a full description as to why, listen to the BFTB Podcast) and Tom Brady's line against San Diego was:


vs SDC / 10.24.10 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD Rush Yds Avg TD
Tom Brady 19 32 59.4 159 1 2 1 0.5 0

 

Less than 60% of his passes competed and less than 160 passing yards (while getting sacked 4 times)? Bring on the Texans.

 

Chargers Defending the Pass

  • 1st  in Yards/Game allowed (176.9), same as two weeks ago.
  • 4th in Yards/Attempt (6.3), down from 3rd two weeks ago.
  • 4th in TDs allowed (8), same as two weeks ago.
  • 2nd in Passes for 1st downs allowed (29.0%), up from 3rd two weeks ago.
  • 4th in Passes for 20+ yards allowed (18), down from 3rd two weeks ago.
  • 2nd in Sacks (25), same as two weeks ago.
  • 17th in Interceptions (7), down from 7th two weeks ago.
Despite the fact that this team has not gotten a turnover since Steve Gregory was suspended four games ago, the numbers against this is one of the best passing defenses in the league. They put pressure on the QB and cover well enough that QBs are averaging less than 180 passing yards and only 1 passing TD per game. 

To assume that Matt Schaub and the Texans offense is going to find holes in this defense that the Patriots, Titans and Rams weren't able to find is to bet against history and the house. Look for Houston to try and force the issue where they have the best chance to put points on the board, and that's with Arian Foster running the ball.

Advantage: Chargers.
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