Seattle Seahawks (5-7) vs. Houston Texans (5-7)
Sunday, December 13th
Kickoff Temperature: Dome
Line: Texans by 6.5
Trends: Seahawks have won two straight games; Texans have lost four games in a row.
Three most important things for the Texans on defense:
1. Pressure Hasselbeck. If Matt Hasselbeck has time to throw,he can still get the job done in a big way. When Hasselbeck is hit, he's certainly not the same quarterback.
2. Beware of Burleson. Nate Burleson leads all Seattle receivers in yards per catch and he's a legitimate deep threat. Houston must keep Burleson in front of the secondary.
3. Watch out for trick plays. Seattle has virtually nothing to lose and they're feeling confident as they've won two straight. Jim Mora may open up the entire playbook and Houston needs to keep from getting over-aggressive.
Three most important things for the Texans on offense:
1. Protect the football. This is directed at both Matt Schaub and Chris Brown. The Texans are far more talented than the Seahawks, so if they avoid turnovers they should win.
2. Make short yardage. The Texans have certainly struggled running the football and a major area of concern has been converting in short yardage situations. Houston isn't going to run the ball much, but when they do they must be effective.
3. Try some misdirection. The Seahawks defense is aggressive and the Texans can take advantage of that with some bootlegs, screens and trick plays.
What to look for:
1. Look for T.J. Houshmandzadeh to lead in receiving. T.J. has had a solid year despite the Seahawks troubles, and he should put up solid numbers on Sunday.
2. Look for a big special teams play. There are good return men on both sides and someone should break free.
3. Look for Schaub to out-duel Hasselbeck. Both quarterbacks are pretty similar in their skill set, but Schaub has better weapons and the better offensive line.
4. Look for the winning team to be whomever runs the ball best. Neither rushing attack is very good, as Seattle is ranked 27th in the league and the Texans are ranked 29th. Whichever team finds a way to gain valuable yards on the ground should win.
5. Either the Texans will win by 10 or more or they will lose a close one. Let's see how much pride the Texans still have as they face an inferior opponent. If it's close, Houston will have a hard time exorcising the demons of the past four games.