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Evaluating The Preseason Schedule: Week 1 - Cardinals vs Texans

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Since we're in the relatively "slow" time of the offseason - and that the NFL just released the preseason schedule on Wednesday - we'll go through each game and provide an evaluation to satisfy our craving for NFL football. Every year, NFL teams are given some leeway as to who they would prefer to play during the preseason. Since not every team will pick each other, the desired match ups don't always happen. With that being said, we'll just assume that the Cardinals selected the four teams they'll play this year and go from there. First up is the Texans.

Week 1: Houston Texans(Aug 12-16) 

Last Game: October 11th, 2009 - Cardinals won 28-21

  • Kurt Warner threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinals jumped out to an early 21-0 lead. The defense stifled an explosive Houston Texans' offense, even blocking a field goal attempt to keep them scoreless in the first half.
  • The Texans were led by Andre Johnson's 101-yard, two touchdown second half performance as they tied the game 21-21 in the 4th quarter. The Cardinals defense prevailed as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned an interception 49-yards for the touchdown. The Texans made one last attempt to tie the game at the Cardinals' goal line but couldn't punch in the ball as the Cardinals defense held on for the goal line stand.

Why the Texans were selected and benefits to playing them are after the jump...

Why the Texans were selected:

  • Matt Schaub was the NFL's top passer last season and with receivers like Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and Owen Daniels, the secondary could use the early test.
  • In their last meeting, the Cardinals defense had zero sacks on Schaub - yes that's right, none. The lack of pressure is what let the Texans back in the game, and it couldn't have left a very good taste in the mouth's of Bill Davis and the defense. 
  • The Texans feature a young, quick, and talented defense that Ken Whisenhunt may consider a true challenge for Matt Leinart.
  • Obviously a big reason is that the match up last season was slug fest and could largely be considered one of the Cardinals most exciting games in '09.

Benefits:

  • In many ways I often consider the Texans a mirror-image of the Cardinals. They're young, they play in a new stadium, they have one of the top receivers in the game, they are a high-powered offense, and their kicker misses clutch field goals. Does this mean something? I don't know but Ken Whisenhunt usually has a plan far before we ever know it(see Green Bay in the preseason last year).
  • The defense could benefit from facing Schaub, especially since he's similar to the quarterbacks that dismantled the Cardinals defense in the playoffs(young, accurate, poised in the pocket).
  • The Texans' run defense was vastly underrated last year and testing Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower against them early would be a good bench mark for the running game.

Overall we can't put too much into the preseason considering the starters usually play the first - and maybe the 2nd quarters. The main reason the NFL even has a preseason is to evaluate 2nd and 3rd string players. This will be the first week of Cardinal football in a long time and our first chance to see new players in a Cardinal jersey so needless to say, I can't wait. What are your thoughts on facing the Texans in the preseason?