Andre Davis (Getty Images)
In the Texans matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, you expect to hear the names of Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, and Mario Williams called early and often, as well as that of Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, and Troy Polamalu. BattleRedNation.com is going to now focus on a few players who could make an impact that may not be so high on everyone's radar.
When the Texans are on offense:
Everyone expects Houston to have a solid passing game with Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson and tight end Owen Daniels, but wide receivers Kevin Walter and Andre Davis could be difference makers on Sunday.
Look for Chris Taylor to get some tough, inside carries against a Pittsburgh defensive line which last season showed themselves to be more bark than bite.
Although James Harrison and Casey Hampton are the big, impact players on the Pittsburgh defense, along with safety Troy Polamalu, Aaron Smith usually has the largest impact. Smith is a solid pass rusher who also plays the run as well as any end in the league.
James Farrior is an impact linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 scheme, and the team is also very high on last season’s second-round pick, LaMarr Woodley. Look for both to have big games on Sunday.
When the Steelers are on offense:
Although Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker and rookie Rashard Mendenhall will receive most of the attention in the Steelers backfield, look for Mewelde Moore to make a few plays on third down as well as in the return game.
Tight end Heath Miller is the Steelers main red zone target, but don’t be surprised if backup Matt Spaeth makes a big play in the passing game.
Mario Williams is the man who receives most of the attention on the Texans defensive line, but Earl Cochran had a very solid preseason and could put some pressure on Ben Roethlisberger.
Look for DeMarcus “Petey” Faggins to play big in the nickel on Sunday following what may have been the best training camp of his career.