Houston Texans: 5 Players Who Will Shine in Week 2

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Houston Texans: Who Shines in Week 2?

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After what was a thrilling comeback victory for the Houston Texans, in Week 2 their reward is a short week before their contest against division rival Tennessee.

While the Titans are currently in the middle of a rebuild, they're far from an easy win for Houston. Most rivalry games are close no matter how good one team is or how bad the other is. Tennessee leads the all time series 14-8, but Houston has won three of the last four and the one loss was in the final game of the season in which starters were being rested for the playoffs.

Houston clearly has the upper hand in the series at this point and they have the better team. The Titans are spoken of as an organization adding the right personnel in a rebuild, whereas Houston is considered widely to be an AFC title contender this year.

The key match up this week will be seeing J.J. Watt going against top 10 pick, and rookie guard, Chance Warmack. In my pre-draft analysis, I had Warmack as a top 5 player in the entire draft and Tennessee picked him solely to slow down Watt within the division. He'll have help all day in a double team, but it's the first real test for the rookie against the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

The Houston defense was lit up in the first half in San Diego in Week 1, then played lights out in the second half. It'll be interesting to see which defense is the truth and which was the impostor.

Same thing goes for the offense, that really took off in the second half and we got a good look at some of the new weapons that the team has brought in to help them open the field a little more.

With all of this in mind, here are the names I have circled to keep a close eye on as the ones who will be the difference for the Texans in their home opener this Sunday.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and on Google. You can also listen to his Texans Luv Ya Steel Blue podcast on iTunes.

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Arian Foster

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Given the pounding that Arian Foster is taking from fans and the media this week after his antics in the Week 1 victory, I fully expect to see an angry No. 1 running back at Reliant on Sunday. I'm not ready to give Foster any labels or anything like that, but the competition with Ben Tate is a good thing and will only push them to make one another better. It starts for Foster this week.

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Antonio Smith

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a suspension for a knuckle-headed decision that saw him attempt to hit an opposing player with a helmet, Antonio Smith is going to be as hungry as ever after only being a spectator for the thrilling comeback win on Monday. With him back in the lineup, teams will have no choice but to account for more than just J.J. Watt in the Texans' pass rush.

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DeAndre Hopkins

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Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Last week, I said that while I thought DeAndre Hopkins was going to be a stud for this offense, I didn't think it would happen immediately. But with Matt Schaub already showing great trust in him in his NFL debut, I expect to see "Nuk" obtain his first touchdown this Sunday and further expand on the buzz he has gained around Houston thus far.

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Kareem Jackson

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I'm just taking a wild stab here, but I've got a good feeling about Kareem Jackson in this one. With the inexperienced Jake Locker still prone to making errant throws, I expect to see Jackson pull down his first interception of the season as well as play solid in coverage and land a good hit or two.

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Andre Johnson

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Just going to go ahead and say that I will probably have Andre Johnson on this list every week this season. There's just something different this year, as he looks like he has a new spring in his step. Finally having a legitimate number two next to him is probably a good reason why. Johnson always has big games against Tennessee, and I fully expect to see him and DeAndre Hopkins really get fans excited at the potential of the 2013 offense this Sunday.


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