NEW ORLEANS - The NFL is officially back in business!
Are you ready for some Texans football? The 2019 run starts tomorrow night in a rowdy Superdome against the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints have been knocking on the door at the Super Bowl the last two years, and many believe they are built for another run this season.
The Saints haven't won a season opener since 2013, so what will it take for the Texans to extend that skid another year?
Below are the top five keys to a Texans win Monday night in no particular order:
1. Bill O'Brien's game management
This part of OB's style has been criticized during his time as head coach as he enters season five. Will he be aggressive or revert back to a conservative approach? Will he manage the clock, timeouts and challenges effectively? Across the field, Sean Payton is a master of game day management.
2. Offensive line
Yes, this topic will not go away, nor should it. New left tackle Laremy Tunsil makes his debut after just arriving. It's his job to protect Deshaun Watson's blind side. If rookie Tytus Howard plays (he's a game-time decision with a broken finger), Tunsil will be right next to him at left guard. The OL played a big part in Watson being sacked 62 times in 2018.
They have to protect and help get the run game going with Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde. Pass Pro will open things up for DW4 to hook up with Hopkins, Fuller, Stills & Carter (with Coutee out) along with the tight ends, especially in the red zone
3. Watson, WR and run game
Year three begins for Watson, and he is ready to elevate his game. O'Brien said Watson's improved in every area of his game. His backfield duo of Johnson and Hyde will be strong on the ground and catching balls out of the backfield. This WR group, led by Hopkins, is among the NFL's best if healthy.
4. Win upfront with pass rush on Brees
The Texans begin life without Jadeveon Clowney on Monday night. The focus now is getting J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and the guys up front locked in on Drew Brees. Pass rush needs to be intense all night, which will cause the 40-year-old Brees to force throws. Two or three sacks wouldn't be a bad way to start off this season.
5. Block out the noise
The Superdome has always been one of the loudest arenas in the NFL. Add in the MNF madnes, and it's going to be a crazy atmosphere. The Texans prepped this past week inside of the NRG Stadium with the noise cranked up and even gave it the look of the Superdome.
We could add to the list, but we will stick with the Top 5. KPRC 2 sports anchor Randy Mcllvoy thinks it will help the Texans get out of the Big Easy with a season-opening win.
The month of September is not going to be easy as Houston faces top QBs like Brees, Foles, Nick Rivers and soon Mahomes and Newton.
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