The Houston Texans, admittedly, haven’t had much of a running attack as of late (89 yards/game, ranked #23 in the NFL). But at the same time, the Miami Dolphins have a fairly weak run defense (ranked last in the NFL – 199.3 yards allowed). Despite those numbers and rankings, both teams are scrambling; Houston (2-2) after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, 26-16, and the winless Dolphins after a 35-17 loss at home to the Oakland Raiders.
While the Texans are deficient in the running game, this week could be a boost in that regard as the aforementioned Dolphins run defense will go up against probable starting running back Ron Dayne (46-139) with some help from Samkon Gado. Quarterback Matt Schaub (91-of-123, 1,005 yards, 5 TD’s, 3 INT’s) has so far been a steady influence for the Texans as he has probably made the Texans faithful forget about former starting QB David Carr. It is expected that RB Ahman Green is out this week (knee), as well as wide receivers Andre Johnson (14-262-3 TD’s) and Jacoby Jones (5-59, 8 punt returns for 132 yards). Replacing Johnson again this week will Andre Davis (9-187-1 TD). The Texans defense has been a pleasant surprise thus far, especially the run defense (80 yard allowed/game – ranked #6 in the NFL), led by steady DeMeco Ryans (34 tackles, 30 solo, 1 sack).
The Dolphins have simply regressed the past few weeks, despite the resurgence of running back Ronnie Brown (60-311-3 TD’s; 20 receptions for 248 yards, 1 TD); Brown has enjoyed two consecutive games of 200+ yards total offense per game. WR Chris Chambers is enjoying a solid year so far (23-323); QB Trent Green has been serviceable, at best, despite his stats (84-of-139, 982 yards, 5 TD’s, 7 INT’s) and the previously mentioned run defense has been subpar. A return by defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday this weekend would benefit the Dolphins, especially on the run defense.
For the Dolphins to win here, they obviously will need more of the same from Brown and a much better effort from Green as the Texans’ secondary has been vulnerable as of late. The Dolphins’ secondary will have to keep a lock on Davis, as well. The Texans will need an inspired effort by Dayne and the offensive line this week and Schaub to simply play relatively mistake-free football. The Texans win this matchup because of the running game and some heroics from either defensive end Mario Williams and/or up-and-coming rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye.