TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: St. Louis Rams At Houston Texans

St. Louis Rams
Houston Texans
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 24: Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams in action against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 25: Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans rolls out looking for a receiver against the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium on August 25, 2013 in Houston, Texas.
(credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Here’s what you need to realize about Sam Bradford. He is a smart, honest quarterback who will give you everything he has on every play. He is good enough to take advantage of average teams, but he will have a problem with elite teams that are at the top of their games. Despite their talent, the Texans are struggling badly and Bradford has a good chance to take advantage.
Matt Schaub is in a battle for survival. His biggest supporter is head coach Gary Kubiak, and that’s a good thing for his job security. However, when you throw interceptions for touchdowns in four straight games, you are not long to hold on to your starting job. Schaub has lost his confidence and is one week away from possibly losing his job.
Offense
The Rams found the semblance of a running game with Zac Stacy in Week Five against the Jaguars. Stacy ran for a solid 72 yards and runs with a hard-charging, physical style. Austin Pettis is an impressive receiver who is coming off a two-TD game. Tight end Lance Kendricks did a good job of getting open and presenting himself as a target for Bradford.
Winner The Texans should have a dominant offense, but they are stalled badly right now. While much of it is on Schaub’s horrific slump, it’s not all his fault. Arian Foster is coming off a 98-yard effort against the Niners, and his ability to cut at full speed is notable. Andre Johnson is still a solid talent, but he does not play as consistently as he once did. TE Owen Daniel may not be able to play because of an injury to his fibula.
Defense
The Rams have had a few tough games, but head coach Jeff Fisher knows that his team’s defensive effort is going to be there. The most consistent player is linebacker James Laurinaitis, who is one of the best tacklers in the league. Laurinaitis had 8 tackles and an interception vs. the Jaguars. Defensive end Chris Long had 5 tackles and a sack in that game.
Winner The Texans have talent all over the field, and nobody is better than defensive end J.J. Watt, who is a ferocious pass rusher and solid against the run. Linebacker Whitney Mercilus is a rising star and a hard hitter, while safety Danieal Manning flies to the football and can break up pass plays with his quick, active hands.
Special Teams
Winner The Rams hustle and work hard with their coverage teams and are unlikely to give up a big return. Placekicker Greg Zuerlein has a big leg and is becoming more consistent. Johnny Hekker has a great leg and gets impressive height on his punts.
The Texans have struggled badly on special teams for the last two seasons. The Texans are hoping Keshawn Martin can improve their return game, but he has not broken a big one yet. Placekicker Ryan Bullock lacks consistency and is unproven.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 24: Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams in action against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 25: Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans rolls out looking for a receiver against the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium on August 25, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

The Texans started their season with Super Bowl aspirations, but Schaub’s disastrous pick-six habit has this team teetering on the brink of disaster. This is a must-win game and if they lose at home to the Rams, look for whole-sale changes.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

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