Eight Reasons to Watch the Saints/Texans Game This Sunday

This Sunday the Houston Texans will host the New Orleans Saints in the first head-to-head battle between the No. 1 pick in the '06 draft, Mario Williams, and the second, Reggie Bush. While Williams and the Texans have yet to beat the third pick and his Titans in their three meetings, the game this weekend appears to be a coin flip with both marquee players afforded the opportunity to steal the spotlight and score some face time on SportsCenter. The contest begins at noon and will be shown locally on Fox. It should be an exciting game regardless of the outcome. As of today the Texans are one-point faves.

Eight reasons why you should watch this game …

1) Reggie Bush: A phenomenal college back who has shown glimpses of his enormous talent since joining the Saints last year. Bush is as much of a threat as a receiver as a runner and can turn the tide of the game as an explosive punt returner. He has the breakaway ability to score on any play and is one of the most exciting young backs in the league. The Saints need to recognize he isn't an every down bruiser back like Deuce McAllister before he gets sidelined by injury. A player you can't keep your eyes off of.

2) Mario Williams: Some of the pressure of being the much-debated No. 1 overall pick in the '06 draft has subsided and he's now playing without the plantar fasciitis injury that plagued his freshman year. Although he's managed four sacks so far this season, he's looking to be overshadowed by rookie d-lineman Amobi Okoye and needs to put more pressure on the QB and start justifying those enormous paychecks he's been cashing for the last year and a half.

3) Andre Johnson: Houston's best overall player returns this week after missing the last seven games due to a knee injury. In his first two games he caught 14 passes for 262 yards (including a 77 yarder) and three TDs. Houston is 2-0 this season when their playmaker suits up and 2-5 without him. The importance of a healthy No. 80 cannot be overstated.

4) Drew Brees: Westlake High School's star quarterback returns to Texas with something to prove. After dropping the first four games of the year the Saints appeared to be back on track winning the next four behind Brees. But last week they suffered a disappointing loss to the previous 0-8 Rams with the Texans hoping this to be the start of another losing streak for the team from the NOLA. Brees sports a mediocre 84.8 QB rating with 14 TDs and 12 interceptions but has only been sacked six times all year. His performance could be what determines the outcome of this game.

5) Matt Schaub: He's back. It's been a tough year for Schaub in more ways than one. He's taken a beating, had inconsistent play from his running back squad (to put it nicely), and has had to deal with the injuries of Andre Johnson, wide receiver Jacoby Jones, and center Steve McKinney, to name just a few. Still, I'll take Schaub over David Carr any day (who wouldn't?) and he has the composure to keep the Texans in close games and not fold when they fall behind. Schaub has an 85.0 QB rating, five TDs, seven interceptions, and has been sacked 12 times. Given some time, Schaub could cut apart the Saints secondary. That is, if he gets the time.

6) 4-5: Both teams enter this game with 4-5 records and would love to bring their mark up to a respectable 5-5. The Saints play in a far weaker division so a win for them goes further than a win for the Texans, but Houston would love to be playing .500 ball after 10 games and give their long-suffering fans something to feel good about. It would also make my drive back to Austin a much more pleasant one as I listen to their fickle fans on the postgame show.

7) The Saints secondary is pitiful: New Orleans passing defense is currently ranked 29th in the league and just like the Texans “Petey” Faggins has had a target on his back all year, Saints cornerback Jason David has been burned worse than this dude all season long and doesn't appear to be improving. With Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub returning this week it could be a long day for the Saints D. And who knows, maybe the Texans will have another decent running game following their win against the Raiders where Ron Dayne ran for 122 yards.

8) The Texans secondary is pitiful: This has been a problem all year (Faggins I'm looking at you) but following the loss of lockdown cornerback Dunta Robinson in the Oakland game it looks to be a huge liability. Rookie Fred Bennett (who is showing promise), Von Hutchins, and Will Demps look to see a lot more action now that Robinson is done for the year.

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reggie bush, drew brees, andre johnson, matt schaub

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