HOUSTON TEXANS (4-0)
at NEW YORK JETS (2-2)
Kickoff: Monday, 8:35 p.m. EDT
Line: Houston -8, Total: 41½
After losing another star to a season-ending injury, the Jets have the unenviable task of hosting the unbeaten Texans on Monday night.
One week after losing their best defensive player, CB Darrelle Revis (ACL), Gang Green has lost their best offensive player for the entire season, as WR Santonio Holmes suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 4. New York was embarrassed at home by the 49ers in that 34-0 defeat, and now takes on a Houston team that has a very similar profile to San Francisco. The Texans have an elite defense to go along with an outstanding ball-control offense.
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Houston has outscored its opponents 126 to 56 this season, winning three games by 20+ points. QB Matt Schaub has been magnificent in his past two games, throwing for 492 yards, 6 TD and just 1 INT. Revis took star WR Andre Johnson out of the past two meetings, holding him to less than 40 yards each time. However, Johnson should be more accessible for Schaub this time around with Revis sidelined. Johnson has been bothered by a groin injury during 2012, and has just eight catches in his past three contests. Despite Schaub’s recent heroics, the Texans will likely use a run-heavy approach on offense. Although Tennessee held them to 95 yards on 31 carries (3.1 YPC) last week, Houston has galloped for 368 yards in its two road games this season. Another great aspect of the Texans offense has been ball protection, as they have had zero turnovers in three of their four games this season. Two of their better offensive players are likely out for this game though -- RB Ben Tate (toe) and WR Lestar Jean (knee). On defense, Houston has been very opportunistic, forcing nine turnovers already, including three in last week’s victory. DE J.J. Watt has been wreaking havoc all season with a league-best 7½ sacks to go along with 20 tackles (16 solo) and five passes defensed. Houston ranks second in the NFL in passing defense (183 YPG), and 11th in rushing defense (90 YPG) despite allowing 158 rushing yards to Tennessee last week.
The Jets offense was dreadful against San Francisco last week, as they rushed for 45 yards on 17 carries (2.6 YPC), while QB Mark Sanchez finished 13-of-29 for 103 yards (3.6 YPA), 0 TD and 1 INT. Considering Houston’s outstanding passing defense and the likely absence of both WR Stephen Hill and TE Dustin Keller because of hamstring injuries, it could be another rough game for Sanchez. His passer rating has been below 70 for three straight games, as he’s 44-for-101 for 547 yards (5.4 YPA), 2 TD and 3 INT during this stretch. Top RB Shonn Greene has also been terrible in his past three games, rushing for just 97 yards on 41 carries (2.4 YPC) with zero touchdowns. This may cause backup Bilal Powell to get more carries, but he has not flourished in his second year, rushing for just 99 yards on 26 carries (3.8 YPC). Although the Jets have been steamrolled by opposing rushing offenses (173 rushing YPG allowed, 2nd-most in NFL), they do rank fourth in the NFL in passing defense (198 YPG). New York’s defensive injury bug extends beyond Revis. DT Sione Po’uha (back) and LBs Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring) are all listed as questionable to play on Monday night.