The Houston Texans return home after being trounced in Los Angeles by the Rams. Luckily Houston is facing the downtrodden Arizona Cardinals. Playing a lesser opponent compared to the Rams in front of the home crowd could be just what the Texans need.
Like the Texans, the Cardinals have a dire situation at quarterback. Carson Palmer broke his arm and has been replaced by Drew Stanton. Stanton is not the worst backup in the league, but there is a reason is only a backup. Stanton has completed 48.4 percent of his passes this season for 540 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Stanton has also been sacked four times in five games.
Complicating issues in Arizona is a different quarterback will be starting Sunday. Wednesday morning, Gabbert was named the starter for Arizona against Houston. Gabbert has not appeared in a game this season. Gabbert appeared in six games last season, completing 56.9 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and six interceptions. Gabbert will be Arizona’s third starting quarterback this season.
Adrian Peterson is the lead back in Arizona for the time being, he has had moments where he has looked like his former self. He has also had moments where he looks like a player on his third team in the past calendar year. Arizona has not played since last Thursday so that will provide plenty of time for Peterson to rest and get ready to carry the ball more than 30 times this game. A strategy that Houston’s seventh ranked rushing defense must be prepared for.
Defensively Arizona ranks eighth in rushing yards allowed per game (97.7), 23rd in passing yards per game (245.1) and has allowed the ninth-most points per game (24.8). The Cardinals rank 14th in sacks with 23. This is an opportunity for the Texans offense to get back on track. Facing the porous secondary of the Cardinals could be just what Texans quarterback Tom Savage needs. Savage has struggled as the starter after the injury to Deshaun Watson.
Savage has struggled with accuracy this season. Completing just 47.3 percent of his passes for 502 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also been sacked 12 times and has fumbled six times. Arizona’s pass rush is nothing special but facing the lackluster Houston offensive line should provide the Cardinals with the chance to pressure Savage.
Considering how Houston lost last week to Los Angeles, it is possible Arizona takes a similar approach. Arizona nearly came away victorious against Seattle last Thursday by throwing the ball often, that is exactly how Los Angeles defeated Houston. Goff completed 25 of 37 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Gabbert should attack the sub-par secondary of Houston and have his way on Sunday.
Forcing Arizona to pass is not in Houston’s best interest. Gabbert is capable of a few big plays against the defensive backfield of the Texans. If Houston can keep the ball out of Gabbert’s hands and in the hands of Peterson it will be to their benefit. As with most games the rest of the season it will be tough to win this one. Facing Arizona at home will certainly give Houston a chance to win this game. It all comes down to whether they can execute on Sunday.
Follow James Mastrucci on Twitter @Jimmmitude