The New Orleans Saints will host the Houston Texans this Sunday, August 30 for their second straight week at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The Saints faced the Texans in exhibition games for six consecutive years from 2008 to 2013 and posted a record of 4-3 in the preseason. The two teams are also scheduled to play each other this year in the regular season on November 29th at NRG Park.
The Saints lost their first two preseason matchups by a combined total of just five points, with last week’s loss being handed to them in the final 14 seconds of the game. Although they are 0-2 in the preseason, the score is not indicative of their performance last week against the Patriots. The Saints dominated the entire first half of the game on both sides of the ball bringing the score to a remarkable 21-0 just before the half.
In the preseason, starters normally play very limited reps, especially in the first two games. Drew Brees has only played in one of the last eight quarters. This is not normally the case in the third week. Game three has been referred to as a ‘dress rehearsal’ because it is during this game that the starting players see the most play time in the preseason. The Saints’ starting offense was exceptional last week against New England and will be looking to maintain their momentum on Sunday. The defense was equally notable, particularly in their ability to stop the run game. They will be making efforts to continue to stop the run for a second consecutive week.
Players potentially missing from the roster for Sunday because of injuries include running back C.J. Spiller, wide receiver Nick Toon, defensive end Anthony Spencer, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, Ramon Humber and Ronald Powell, starting cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Brandon Browner as well as cornerback PJ Williams, offensive tackle Cyril Lemon, and safety Jairus Byrd.
Lengthened play time for the starters in week three will create a more competitive first half of football between Saints and Texans. Anticipate a strong showing from the Saints on Sunday based on the notable offensive execution by the starting players in week two. They will most likely take another early lead and will be hoping to do so by establishing a running game with Mark Ingram. On the defense, the Saints will attempt to produce a consistent pass-rush. The question remains as to whether the backups can uphold the win in the second half for the Saints this week.