NEW YORK GIANTS (0-2, 0-1) at HOUSTON TEXANS (0-2, 0-1)

NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)

Television: FOX (Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Megan Olivi) 1:00 PM EDT

 

SERIES HISTORY

This is the fifth regular season meeting between the Giants and Texans going back to 2002. The Giants lead the all-time series 3-1, including a 30-17 win on Sept. 21, 2014 at MetLife Stadium.

 

LAST GAME

Giants: Lost to Dallas Cowboys 20-13

Texans: Lost to Tennessee Titans 20-17

 

LINE

Houston: -6

Over/Under: 42.5

 

GIANTS INJURY REPORT

OUT: Cornerback Eli Apple (groin), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle)

 

TEXANS INJURY REPORT

OUT: Cornerback Kayvon Webster (Achilles)

QUESTIONABLE: Wide receiver Sammie Coates Jr. (hamstring), wide receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring), tight end Jordan Thomas (hip)

 

WHAT IS ON THE LINE

GIANTS: They are winless after two games for the second consecutive season and fifth time in six years. Worse than that, they are 3-15 in since the beginning of the 2017 season. The team made significant changes after last season, including the hiring of head coach Pat Shurmur. The Giants’ two losses were by a total of 12 points, which is part of the reason the pressure is ratcheted up. If the Giants lose, it will fall on Shurmur’s head even though he’s only coaching in his third game leading the Giants. An 0-3 start will only put more pressure on a team that is in Win Now mode.

TEXANS: The Giants’ start obscures the fact that the Texans need the win just as badly, if not more. Houston is playing in their home opener and have lost eight consecutive games dating back to last season. After the Cleveland Browns defeated the New York Jets Thursday night, Houston now owns the NFL’s longest losing streak.

 

KEY MATCHUP

Giants right tackle Ereck Flowers vs. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt

This is the wrong time for Flowers for to be squaring off against Watt. In the Giants’ first two games, Flowers faced the Jacksonville JaguarsCalais Campbell and the Dallas CowboysDemarcus Lawrence. In Week 3, Flowers’ assignment is a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year. Watt hasn’t recorded a sack so far this season. The coaching staff could help Flowers with Watt by double teaming him and it might not mean a thing.

 

HOW THE GIANTS WILL WIN

They have to score points, plain and simple. Unfortunately, they have struggled mightily to put points on the board. They may need to get some help scoring on the defensive side of the ball or on special teams. Houston surrendered a touchdown on a fake punt against Tennessee. They have to establish the running game with Saquon Barkley early to take pressure of Eli Manning and the passing game. Speaking of Manning (who has never lost to the Texans), he has to get his weapons (Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard) involved early as well. The defense will miss Apple in the secondary so B.W. Webb will start and split time with Donte Deayon. Webb will shadow Will Fuller while Janoris Jenkins will be on DeAndre Hopkins.

 

HOW THE TEXANS WILL WIN

The Texans lead the NFL in rushing yards (315) and rushing yards per game (157.5). Lamar Miller is a potential nightmare for a defense that had to deal with Leonard Fournette and Ezekiel Elliott in their first two games. Deshaun Watson can terrorize them by attacking vertically with Fuller and Hopkins. Houston can also punish the defense with individual matchups up front. Besides Watt, the Giants will have to contend with the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.

 

WHO WILL WIN THE GAME?

Both teams desperately need this win. The chances of making the playoffs after starting the season with three losses are well documented. Houston has a better chance of making the postseason simply because they play in the AFC South while the Giants have to go through the meat grinder that is the NFC East. The Texans have only beaten the Giants once in their history. They lost last week to a team quarterbacked by Blaine Gabbert. This week they will defeat a team with a two-time Super Bowl winner behind center.

 

Giants-14 Texans-17

 

– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.

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