The St. Louis Rams will take on the Houston Texans in Week 6 action on Sunday. Both teams are 2-3 on the season, though the former is coming off a win in their last outing, while the latter has lost their last three games in a row.
The Rams bested the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5, in a game that was practically a free win given the way Jacksonville has played this season. Houston just lost to the San Francisco 49ers, a team the Rams also lost to in Week 4. That said, the Texans have been the more impressive team this season, not that it's saying much.
Both teams expected to be in a better spot at this point of the season. Whichever team wins on Sunday will make it back to .500 and get its season back on track. Let's look at both teams below:
Meet the Texans
Houston is on a three-game losing streak after beginning their season with narrow wins over the San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Matt Schaub shares blame in all three losses, and has come under fire for throwing pick-sixes in each of his last four games.
One of those pick-sixes almost cost Houston a win -- the Texans narrowly bested the Titans in overtime in Week 2 in spite of it -- and the other three were all losses in which the pick-six obviously didn't help. The Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks was lost in overtime, so it definitely was a factor there.
Still, the Texans boast the No. 13 passing offense (257.2 yards per game), the No. 8 rushing offense (133.6 yards) and the No. 1 passing defense (134.2 yards allowed per game) in the NFL. They are a force to be reckoned with.
Meet the Rams
St. Louis was pegged as a sleeper team this season. It was supposed to field a great defense to help its blossoming offense along, and it was supposed to turn the NFC West into a three-team race. They Rams have done none of those things through five weeks, though they have shown flashes.
With wins over the Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals, the Rams don't necessarily have an impressive resume. Add to that lopsided losses in two of their other three games and you have a team that's ranked No. 27 in rush defense, No. 17 in pass defense and No. 16 in pass offense. The biggest issue, though, is the running game.
St. Louis averages 66.4 rushing yards per game. The Rams have not scored a rushing touchdown all season. Daryl Richardson took over for Steven Jackson and that has not worked out thus far. At all. Given that Houston has the best passing defense in the league, it will need to work out in Week 6 if the Rams hope to win and get back to .500.
Local Takes: Texans
When looking at their numbers, it's quite spooky. The only difference between the two is that Schaub is slightly more accurate, throws the ball more often, and his passes go for less yards. When their play started to deteriorate, the first thing to go was the deep pass and then the interceptions began to pile up. Additionally, when you compare the subjective aspects of how they played, you start to see the same problems that derailed Jake's career: lack of arm strength-check, poor decision making-check, team killing interceptions-check, lack of confidence-check. You could see the similarities: both led a 12-4 team to the divisional round of the playoffs, both started to play poorly the following year after their 12-4 season and contract extension, both played behind a great run game and defense when the team succeeded, both played on the same team when Delhomme rubbed his interception cooties all over Schaub, and both are the greatest quarterbacks in their franchise's history.
Local Takes: Rams
Brandon Birkhead of Turf Show Times thinks that Janoris Jenkins vs. Andre Johnson is a matchup to watch:
I was hoping that Andre Johnson wouldn't be able to suit up this weekend, but he announced that he will be playing. Johnson is not the player he once was, but there are still few better wideouts in the NFL. Janoris Jenkins has played well at times for the Rams, but he is inconsistent and is prone to giving up big plays. He can't allow that to happen Sunday against Johnson. The Texans love to run play action. Jenkins will have to stay disciplined.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Gary Kubiak To Address Entire Team Tomorrow Morning; What Does That Mean? http://t.co/wWqYq3Q964— battleredblog (@battleredblog) October 9, 2013
A graphic look at the Rams offense and defense http://t.co/LRyOw8ICqn— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) October 8, 2013
Unsurprisingly, all five of SB Nation's experts picked the Texans to win this one. Find the rest of the Week 6 picks here.
The Texans opened up as 10-point favorites for the matchup, though the line has narrowed on most books, according to Odds Shark. Some books have them as low as 7-point favorites.