Week 9 ended in another loss for the Texans, but it was a good day for the Texans defensive rookies. First round draft pick Mario Williams recorded another sack against Giants QB Eli Manning, bringing his season total to 4.5 and setting a new rookie sack record for the franchise. Second round draft pick DeMeco Ryans also had a good day against the Giants, making 10 tackles and 1 sack – good enough for a Rookie of the Week nomination.
Ryans currently leads the NFL with 58 solo tackles and ranked fourth in the NFL with 78 total tackles. Ryans is also second on the Texans roster with 2.5 sacks, 2 behind team leader Williams. Williams has also gotten a sack in each of the Texans last 3 games, setting another franchise record.
The Texans defense has shown marked improvement since the beginning of the season. In the first three weeks of the year, the Texans D allowed an average of 483.7 yards per game. In the last 5 games the Texans D has become much stingier allowing only 269 total net yards per game beginning with Miami in Week 4.
Currently the Texans defense is ranked 28th in the NFL. However, looking at just games since the beginning of the month of October, the Texans defense is ranked 3rd – surpassed only by the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. Of course, the real question is how many points the defense allows, and the Texans have dropped that average from over 32 points per game in the first 3 weeks to just under 20 points per game in the past 5 matchups.
This week the Texans will round out their 3 week road trip by traveling to Jacksonville in an attempt to sweep the Jaguars in 2006. The last time these two met was in Week 7 when the Texans pulled out a solid 7-27 win at home in Reliant Stadium.
A win this week would snap Houston's league leading 12 game losing streak that stretches all the way back to the Texans 2004 season. Ironically, the last time the Texans won on the road was in Alltel Stadium when Houston downed Jacksonville 21-0 the day after Christmas in 2004.
Jacksonville, who has a 5-3 record to his point in the season, is currently firmly in control of 2nd place in the AFC South behind the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. Houston is tied for third with the former Houston franchise the Tennessee Titans, who both have 2-6 season records. However Jacksonville, Houston, and Tennessee all share 1-2 records against divisional opponents.