The Texans and Jets have had very differing seasons. The Texans began the season 4-0, and have not had much competition to date.
Through a strong defensive unit, and an explosive offensive attack, many expect the Texans to pummel the majority of their opponents and make it to the Super Bowl.
The Jets on the other hand, have had quite a disappointing season.
They are normally regarded for being a powerful ground 'n' pound team, but so far this season they have been pounded and therefore grounded. Mark Sanchez has not been getting it done, Shonn Greene isn't putting up his usual numbers, and the defense is struggling.
If you look at these two teams on paper, their players, their stats, their everything, it is obvious that the Texans are the much better team, especially with key New York starters out, like Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller.
Well, someone forgot to tell the Jets that. In what turned out to be a Monday night showdown, the Jets put up as big a fight as anyone has this season against the Texans. Sanchez started off well, throwing a touchdown over the head of Glover Quin to backup tight end Jeff Cumberland.
The defense also played well in the beginning, but both sides of the ball failed to have much success in the second half as the Texans pulled ahead and won 23-17.
There are many things we can take away from this game, but here's the most important things:
The Jets need a new quarterback ASAP
After a woeful performance thus far this season, Sanchez looked good in the beginning of this game. He was moving out of the pocket, making the throws he needed to make, and made good decisions.
But as the game went on, Sanchez got worse. Not only did he throw two interceptions, but he just plain made some bad decisions with the ball. He would either throw it out of the range of his receivers, or hold onto it too long.
On one play in particular, Brooks Reed came screaming off the edge and Sanchez just held onto the ball just a hair too long and Reed subsequently hit him and Sanchez fumbled the ball. Now, newly signed Jet, Lex Hilliard, did pick it up and run for a seven yard gain, but Sanchez certainly can't count on being that lucky each time he fumbles the ball.
Unfortunately, I didn't see as much Tebow as I would have liked, but from what I did see, I thought he did alright. Tebow only attempted one pass and it was dropped by former Jaguars receiver Jason Hill, but if he would've held on, he would've had a huge gain.
The pass was placed perfectly and hit Hill in stride, he just couldn't bring it in. As per usual, Tebow was mainly used on punt protection and running plays, but I want to see more of Tebow's arm. Even if Tebow isn't the long term, or even the short term answer for the Jets, I think we all want to see what he can do.
Now, maybe Tebow will be worse than Sanchez. Hell, at that point maybe we'll start hearing chants for third stringer Greg McElroy, I doubt it, but who knows. I think right now the Jets are really just hoping that Vinny Testaverde and Wayne Chrebet come out of retirement and lend them a hand on offense.
J.J. Watt is one of the best in the league, period
During the offseason, Texans' defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that Watt has the ability to become a Hall of Fame player. While many considered this just a coach boasting his player, Watt has certainly been off to a hot start in his career.
Since then, there has been talk of J.J. Watt being a "future Hall of Famer". High praise coming former coach and Super Bowl winner Jon Gruden. Watt has recorded eight and a half sacks so far this season, and is on pace to break the record for sacks in a season. That would be quite a feat for a guy who's only in his second year.
Not only is Watt a beast at getting to the quarterback, he is also revered for his ability to swat down balls at the line of scrimmage, something he did a lot last night against Mark Sanchez. J.J. Swatt, as I like to call him, is quicker than anybody I've seen at getting his hands up to bat down a ball since D'Marco Farr with the Rams in 1999.
"That J.J. Watt's the real deal. I think the Knicks should pick him up too with all that shot-blocking he did. He's an excellent football player." Kind words from a normally crude Rex Ryan.
The Jets desperately need a running game
This is the first season since Ladainian Tomlinson retired, and his presence is obviously missed in the Jets' backfield. For the past two seasons, Shonn Green and LT split carries in the backfield, with Tomlinson mainly getting the ball on third down due to his pass catching ability. Shonn Greene has had a rough adjustment to being the lone back, and his stats show it.
Last season, Greene had over 1,000 yards rushing, and is on pace to not even come close to that this season. Greene is set to rush for a little over 600 yards this season, which would be his lowest since his rookie season.
He isn't scoring as much, and he's fumbling the ball more which is certainly not helping the already ailing Jets offense. Greene has the lowest yards per carry average (2.9) amongst all starting running backs.
That being said, I do like Greene. I think he has good ability and can be a good back in this league if he gets some help. Second-year back Bilal Powell from Temple isn't doing a whole lot, and Joe McKnight isn't getting enough carries to make an impact.
Greene needs help, not only in the form of another running back, but from his offensive line and his quarterback. Greene is a great player, one of the best the Jets have. But he won't be successful if they don't help him out.
Antonio Cromartie is the second-best player on the Jets' roster
There is no argument that Darrelle Revis is the best player on the Jets team, but many might forget about Antonio Cromartie's ability, in all aspects of the game. The NFL's "60 Minute Man" hasn't been around since the Chuck Bednarik days, but we may be seeing the return of it soon.
Antonio Cromartie has openly said that he is one of the best receivers on the team, and he showed a glimpse of his ability in this game versus the Texans.
In the middle of the second quarter, Cromartie trotted onto the field opposite from Jeremy Kerley. Cromartie was matched up against the Texans' best corner in Johnathan Joseph, and certainly caught my attention. Although it was a bad pass from Mark Sanchez, Cromartie had completely separated from Joseph and was wide open down the field.
The 6'2", 211-pound corner has the size and speed to play the receiver position. Cromartie eventually did catch a pass, but it was an interception of Matt Schaub.
Along with his natural receiver ability and his defensive skills, Cromartie has also shown his ability in the return game, as he holds the record for longest kick return for a touchdown (109 yards).
I personally think the Jets should consider using Cromartie a lot more on the offensive side of the ball with Holmes out for the season. Give the boy a chance, Rex.
Arian Foster is the best running back in the league
Ever since Foster burst onto the scene in Week 1 versus the Colts a couple years ago, he has caught the attention of everyone in the league.
Foster, who was undrafted coming out of Tennessee, has put up huge numbers in his first two seasons as a starter, rushing for 3,629 yards for 34 touchdowns, and has caught 137 passes for 1,374 yards and five touchdowns. Pretty impressive for a guy no one wanted on draft day.
The Texans are putting Foster to work this season, as he is on pace to break the record for most carries in a single season with 422. I don't blame them for rushing Foster that much, as long as he keeps putting up the numbers he has been. He is on pace for about 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
Only Maurice Jones-Drew has had more yards since Foster became the starter in Houston two years ago. MJD has Foster beat by about 200 yards, but has had 45 more carries since then and has not scored as many touchdowns.
Last night against the Jets, Foster had 29 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown against one of the best front sevens in the league. The Texans sure are glad they took a chance with this kid.