Matt Schaub bounced back after a tough start to last season to command the NFL’s third-ranked offense. The questions about Schaub are not so much about his ability to play at a high level, but more about his ability to suit up for 16 games, as he is already nicked up.
The Jets will start a rookie in Mark Sanchez. Although Sanchez is not your average rookie, he will likely make some mistakes that the Texans should be able to take advantage of.
Houston features last season’s super rookie, Steve Slaton, who may have been the best first-year running back in the game. Behind Slaton is oft-injured veteran Chris Brown, Ryan Moats, and fullback Vonta Leach
The Jets have a wealth of talent at the running back position, as they go three-deep with last season's AFC leader in rushing, Thomas Jones, along with the explosive Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Greene. Paving the way for these backs will be Tony Richardson, one of the league's finest fullbacks.
Perhaps the most talented position group on the team, the Texans boast Pro Bowler Andre Johnson, who could be the very best wideout in the game. To compliment Johnson, Houston has Kevin Walter who has a knack for finding the end zone, and slot-machine David Anderson. Throw in Jacoby Jones and Andre Davis and the Texans are loaded.
The perceived weak spot on the Jets offense is at the wide receiver position. Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey aren't going to scare many defenses, but David Clowney has deep speed in the slot.
Big Edge: Texans
Houston may have the most tight end depth in the league, as Pro Bowler Owen Daniels appears to be in great shape and focused. The Texans drafted blocking end Anthony Hill and do-everything guy James Casey, and veteran Joel Dreesen could be a contributor.
The Jets have one of the most underrated tight ends in the league in Dustin Keller, and Ben Hartsock is his backup. Keller has great hands and plays more like a big wide receiver.
We believe this group has the potential to be the best offensive line in franchise history. There is a question of whether or not 2008 first-round pick Duane Brown will be able to be an effective full-time left tackle, but we feel confident in his abilities.
Offensive line is certainly a strength for the Jets, as they have Pro Bowlers Alan Faneca and Nick Mangold, along with tackles D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Brandon Moore.
Houston may have the best end in the game in Mario Williams, and free agent acquisition Antonio Smith should have a big year because of Williams. Add in second-round pick Connor Barwin and the Texans have their best group of pass rushers in team history. On the inside, Amobi Okoye is looking to bounce back from an injury-filled 2008 campaign. The team acquired former Lion Shaun Cody to go along with Tim Bulman, Frank Okam and DelJuan Robinson.
The Jets will be without suspended linemen Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace, but will have to make due with the great nose tackle Kris Jenkins along with free agent acquisition Marques Douglas.
Houston seemingly has more talented linebackers than spots for them as they have star MLB DeMeco Ryans, along with first-round pick Brian Cushing. The battle for the other outside position will be interesting, as the ultra-talented Zac Diles is coming off a broken leg, and Xavier Adibi was impressive last year as a rookie.
New York will line up their 3-4 with free agent Bart Scott and David Harris on the inside, with last season's underachieving first-round pick Vernon Gholston and Bryan Thomas on the outside.
If the Texans have questions on their team it’s in the secondary. Dunta Robinson is the best corner the team has, possibly ever, but what kind of shape will he be in as he missed all of training camp and preseason? Fred Bennett will start opposite Robinson, thanks to Jacques Reeves leg injury. Brice McCain had a solid preseason and Antwaun Molden or rookie Glover Quin could play dime.
Perhaps the biggest position advantage the Jets have on the field will be in the secondary. Darrelle Revis is one of the very best corners in the game, and Lito Sheppard is excellent on the other side. Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowrey will play nickel and dime.
Big Edge: Jets
The Houston safeties are possibly the weakest position group on the team as the expected starters are Eugene Wilson and Nick Ferguson. Dominique Barber will compete for playing time along with Jon Busing.
The Jets have one of the best safeties in the game in Kerry Rhodes, along with free agent acquisition Jim Leonhard. Eric Smith will provide depth.
Big Edge: Jets
The Texans special teams specialists are very good as Kris Brown is one of the league’s most accurate kickers, and Matt Turk has a booming leg. Andre Davis and Jacoby Jones handled kickoff and punt duties respectively a year ago, and will likely serve in that same capacity again.
The Jets Jay Feely is a veteran kicker who is very accurate, although has limited range. The team just signed Steve Weatherford, as he lost the punting competition in Jacksonville. Weatherford is mediocre. Return man Leon Washington is anything but mediocre, as he is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Jim Leonhard is a rock solid punt returner.