Houston Texans (7-7) vs. Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Sunday, December 27th
Land Shark Stadium, Miami, FL
Kickoff Temperature: 77 degrees, 20% chance of precipitation
Line: Dolphins by 3
Trends: Texans have won two straight games; Dolphins have won two of their last three.
Three most important things for the Texans on defense:
1. Stop Ricky. Ricky Williams is the Dolphins best offensive weapon and the Texans must force someone, anyone else to beat them.
2. Pressure Henne. Chad Henne is a virtual rookie starting quarterback (second season overall) and he has a tendency to make mistakes when pressured. Houston must make him move around.
3. Strip ‘em. The Dolphins will put the ball on the ground from time to time so if the Texans can hold up ball-carriers and try to strip them, it could be very beneficial.
Three most important things for the Texans on offense:
1. Challenge the rookies. The Dolphins have a pair of talented rookies on the corners. Although these youngsters are indeed talented, they must be tested as Houston boasts the best receiver in the game, Andre Johnson.
2. Protect Schaub. Matt Schaub has made mistakes this year when under fire. Miami is more than capable of pressuring the passer.
3. Cash in. The Texans need touchdowns, not field goals when they get in the red zone.
What to look for:
1. Look for four or more combined turnovers. This could be a sloppy game, as these are two fairly mediocre teams playing under pressure.
2. Look for Ricky Williams to score. Williams is having a fantastic season and he’s scored 13 touchdowns in 14 games. Look for the trend to continue.
3. Look for the Texans to be one-dimensional. Miami does a good job of stopping the run so Houston may not even try it.
4. Look for Schaub to go over 300. The Texans quarterback is having a fantastic statistical season, why should anything change this week?
5. Look for the Texans to find a way to lose. Looking at these two teams, Houston is infinitely more talented, but Miami has much more intestinal fortitude. The tougher team usually wins, and it will likely be the Dolphins.