HOUSTON – Both the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers have split their first two games and hope to jump up over .500 with a win in their matchup in California on Sunday afternoon.
Here are the two key head-to-head matchups that will likely determine the outcome.
Texans offensive tackles vs Chargers edge rushers
The Chargers' attacking defense gets the majority of their pass rush pressure from their elite edge rushers in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. The duo had 12.5 sacks last season, though Bosa only started six games. They are tough to handle for any group, let alone one that has struggled as the Texans blockers have during Deshaun Watson’s run as the starting quarterback. Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil will play on a tender ankle, and Roderick Johnson will make his second start at right tackle with Houston. Tunsil has moments of domination where his elite skills are on display - but has also been beaten on occasion, though again, he’s been with the Texans for less than a month. Johnson has impressed since the beginning of the offseason program and probably should have been a starter in Week 1.
Texans cornerback Bradley Roby vs Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen
With rookie Lonnie Johnson, Jr sliding into a more prominent role on the outside, the Texans wisely slid Roby into the slot often in Week 2 and should do so again against Allen who often lines up in the slot. Allen has been targeted 25 times; only New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas has been targeted more. Chargers QB Philip Rivers has a tremendous amount of trust in Allen to make the tough catches, especially on third down. Roby has had two solid games to start his Texans career and has been tremendous as a tackler.