Posted: 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
By David Fucillo
The San Francisco 49ers will face the Houston Texans this Sunday on Sunday Night Football, and right off the bat, the 49ers open as touchdown favorites. The Texans are coming off an ugly loss to the Seattle Seahawks, in which they blew a 20-3 lead in the second half. Houston dominated the first half, but as soon as the Seahawks got the Lynch touchdown to cut the lead to 20-13, it felt like the comeback victory was inevitable.
The Texans now get to travel west to continue their adventures against the NFC West. The 49ers are coming off a dominating victory on the road against the St. Louis Rams. The 49ers looked sharp in their ground game, and got things going through the air for at least a couple quarters. Is it enough to inspire touchdown-plus victory confidence? Does that line seem a little high?
The Texans have now lost two straight to the Ravens and Seahawks. They opened the season with a pair of wins, both of which qualify as decently impressive. They made a huge season-opening Monday NIght Football comeback against the San Diego Chargers, and then beat the Tennessee Titans in overtime. The Chargers and Titans are not quite world-beaters, but they have proven tough this season.
The 49ers got a much-needed win over the Rams, and will look to build on that this week in a sizable step up in competition. The Texans are only 2-2, but they are an incredibly dangerous team. They could face a bit of a challenge with Brian Cushing suffering a concussion on Sunday. But even without Cushing they're a tough opponent. That offense is incredibly dynamic, although Matt Schaub struggled mightily in the second half against the Seahawks.
I suspect the Texans will look to establish the run with their two-headed monster of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. I think the 49ers run defense can handle the duo, but it won't be like facing Daryl Richardson. The Texans will want to challenge the 49ers secondary, but given Matt Schaub's total lack of mobility, if they cannot establish the run, the 49ers could find themselves in a position to really take control of this game. Stopping Foster and Tate will be essential. No run game, and maybe the 49ers pass rush can tee off on Schaub.