NFL Gridiron Gab Week Five Preview: New York Giants at Houston

Is Hakeem among the NFC’s best wide receivers?

Time for my weekly matchup battles for the Giants and the Texans.

This week the 2-2 Giants travel to the 3-1 Texans. Its a big game for the Giants.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.


Few people  know that Matt Schuab is actually part of the 2004 QB class and per stat compared to the other 2004 QB Schuab has put up as good if not better numbers. Schuab has a career QB rating of 91.7 QB rating and 7.5 yards per attempt. Schuab has completed 65.4 percent of his throws for his career. He has in a word been productive since he became the Quarterback of the Texans.

The thing Schuab doesn’t have though is the wins. A  career 19-21 record as a starting Quarterback.

Eli Manning on the other hand isn’t the statistical wonder Schuab is but has been productive in his career, and more importantly Eli has been a Winner. He’s won a division title, led his team to the playoffs four years and won a superbowl.

Advantage Giants. Schuab puts up numbers, but does he put up wins? He’s also missed his fair share of games as a starter. Schaub plays well, but he’s not Eli Manning.

Running Backs

Heading into the season you would say the Giants have Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. The Texans have Arian Foster (Rookie Ben Tate got hurt) and Steve Slaton advantage Giants. But then Foster busted out and leds the league in rushing. Then the Texans signed Derrick Ward who is a nice complementary back. And then they have the exciting Steve Slaton. Slaton contributed a lot on special team, which the Giants running backs don’t. I don’t trust Arian Foster as for real yet, but the depth is better and right now Arian Foster is the best running back on either team.

Advantage: Texans. Hopefully the Giants will play well on defense, but Arian Foster has shown he can be a dominant force when on. I’m not sure he’ll have long term success, but as of right now he’s running  like he’s Eric Dickerson or Walter Payton. He was benched last week for the start of the game and winded up running for a 131 yards on 16 carries. He’s also caught the ball out of the backfield.

Wide Receiver

I think this is the most intriguing “battle” of  course these units will not face each other on the field. But in this hypothetical little game it’s fun to think about.

The Texans have the best WR in the league in Andre Johnson, a complete WR who routinely puts up huge numbers. Along with Johnson, the Texans rely on Kevin Walter one of the most underrated Wide Recievers in the league. He’s not great, but he’s very solid and reliable. He had back to back seasons of 800 receiving yards before he only played in 14 games last year (and last year he had 611). Walter has 20 catches for 242 yards this season with 3 Touchdowns, which are comparable to Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks numbers this year. third WR Jacoby Jones is hurt and then there is a big drop off.

That’s what makes this “matchup” interesting.  The Giants don’t have Andre Johnson, but they do have Hakeem Nicks maybe the best young WR in the league. They have one of the top three third down WR’s in the league. And then they have Mario Manningham, who has played really well and is averaging 17 yards per carry on the season.

Advantage: Right now it’s the Texans WR because Andre Johnson is amazing and Walter is consistent while the Giants young WR can still be mistaken prone and have had the dropsies this year. If I’m picking a corps for the next five years I’ll take the Giants WR, If I’m taking one for this Sunday I’d have to take the Texans.

Tight End

The Giants are carrying three tight ends at the moment with Bear Pascoe, Travis Beckum, and Kevin Boss. The Texans carry three tight ends as well with Owen Daniels, Joel Dressen, and James Casey.

This year Owen Daniels only has 7 catches for 68 yards. Dressen has 7 for 119 and Casey has zero catches. The Giants don’t use their tight ends, a ton, and while Beckum is improving, he has only 6 catches so far this season. Boss has five catches for 110 yards.

Advantage Texans. Daniels has been one of the most consistent and productive tight ends in the league the past three years. He had over 500 yards receiving last year in only 8 games and averaged about 800 yards the two years before that. A very good pass catcher.

Offensive Line

The Texans line has no one you have ever heard of, but sometimes that’s a good sign for a team. The Giants have more marquee names and way more depth. The Texans Oline can’t be all that bad though, even though they have given up 11 sacks their Running game has been phenomenal and teams can’t run if they have an awful offensive line.

Advantage Giants.

One of the biggest problems recently for the Texans is some of their poor blocking, which might have cost them a playoff spot the past couple of years. This year they are finally able to run the ball and even though the Giants oline is struggling they are more proven and I think the Giants will eventually insert Shawn Andrews at tackle and be much better later in the season.

Defensive Line.

The Texans have quitely put together a very good offensive line. They have the freak Mario Williams who already has five sacks on the season. They also have Antonio Smith who is a solid player in the NFL Amobi Okoye has been in the league four years and just turned 23 in June this year, which is impressive, but he hasn’t been as good as the Texans had hoped since his rookie year when he had 5.5 sacks. The line is very solid for the Texans, but the depth leaves something to be desired and they have one big time play maker and a bunch of solid pros along the rest of the line.

The Giants dline can abuse poor blocking like they did vs the Bears, but have been subdued a lot the past two seasons. The Giants have a lot of money invested into the line. Justin Tuck is a fantastic run stopping defenive end. JPP has a lot of talent. Umeinyora is great at focing fumbles. Canty can be inconsistently dominant and Coefield is good.

Advantage Giants.

The Giants have a good offensive line that has been inconsistent.When the line is on though, there is no better  unit, the problem is they are not always on.


This is usually a loss for the Giants and this week is no different. The Texans have two very good physical tackling machine linebackers with Demeco Ryans and Brian Cushing, and the other linebacker no one has ever heard of Zac Diles is 10th in the league with 37 tackles in the first four games.

Cushing is a monster at times, Ryans is 11th in the league with 36 tackles. The Texans linebackers make  plays.

The Giants linebacker corps isn’t as bad as people make them out to be, but they are not great. Jonathan Goff is emerging as a pretty good Two down run stuffing linebacker. The Giants linebackers need to be on Sunday or this defnese could be exposed.

Advantage Texans

The Texans have play making linebackers. Not just linebackers who are there. These are big time linebackers with Cushing and Ryans. Thankfully for the Giants Cushing is coming off a four game suspension and might not be in football shape which might slow him down, but even if that happens the Texans linebackers are superior.


Perry Fewell knows secondaries. Right now the Giants rank second in the league in pass defense with only 139.8 yards per game and have five interceptions this year from their secondary members. Last year the Giants had 13 total and 11 from the secondary. They seem on pace to break that from last year.

The Texans on the other hand are last in the league in yards per game at over 330 yards a game. If the Giants passing game doesn’t get going this weekend it could be a long year.


Coach Kubiak vs Coughlin.

Kubiak has not been to the playoffs ever even though he’s had talented teams. Coughlin has beento the playoffs a lot and is a winner.

Special Teams

Steve Slaton hasn’t been as impressive returning kicks as his speed would indicate he could be (about 20 yards per return). Their best punt returner might be hurt, but still at least they have something to work with.

The Texans punter is only averaging 41 yards per punt (not net, total yards on each punt) with four inside the 20. Neil Rackers is a pretty good NFL kicker, but so is Tynes.  I haven’t watched enough Houston games to know how good their coverage units are.

Advantage Texans.  The Giants special teams are awful, I don’t think Houston’s is very good, but they are not awful.

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