The Houston Texans face the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday at noon on FOX at Reliant Stadium. The Texans enter the game having been humiliated by the Baltimore Ravens last week 30-9, and the Seahawks come to Houston after having shellacked the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-17 (so badly that Russell Wilson sat out part of the game). Many Houston fans are nervous about this game, and they definitely should be. But the “Seachickens” aren’t as scary as we’ve made them out to be.
Sure Seattle is one of the deepest teams in the NFL, and they’ve already snagged 10 turnovers in just three games. Yes, they’ve won eight of their last nine going back to last season. But this is the NFL, and any team can beat any other team any week of the year. That’s what makes the NFL so compelling.
Head coach Pete Carroll has definitely done a great job of disguising the weaknesses of this team, but they are there. The biggest weakness I see (and the one Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips are hopefully scheming for/against) is the offensive line.
The unit started out the 2013 season already a little thin — especially compared to the rest of the team — and now injuries to Pro Bowl tackle Russell Okung, Pro Bowl center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini could possibly rob them of most of their o-line starters. Okung is out for at least eight weeks after a torn ligament in his big toe, and Unger (triceps) and Giacomimi (knee) are game-time decisions.
Paul McQuistan has moved over from left guard to take Okung’s place, and now James Carpenter will start at left guard. So that means if Giacomini and Unger miss, only J.R. Sweezy would be starting in his normal role. Lemuel Jeanpierre would start at center for Unger, and rookie Michael Bowie would start for Giacomini.
This is a huge advantage for the Texans, as J.J. Watt, Earl Mitchell and Antonio Smith are one of the best defensive line combos in the league. If Giacomini and Unger go missing along with Okung, expect Phillips to continue his defensive pressure, as he’s led the league with 49 percent of dropbacks being rushed by at least five pass-rushers.
If all three of these guys miss, I’d say the Texans win this game, 24-17. If Giacomini and Unger start, the Seahawks win 35-24.