Week 4: Texans-Seahawks matchup analysis

Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Seattle Seahawks (3-0) at Houston Texans (2-1)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Reliant Stadium, Houston - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Chris Myers, Tim Ryan, Jennifer Hale
*Keys to the game: Points could be hard to come by with the league's top-ranked defenses squaring off. The major difference? Seattle has forced 10 turnovers while Houston has just one takeaway. Houston didn't score a touchdown in Baltimore last week, and must get early-down production from RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate. If not, Seattle's No. 1-ranked pass defense features a slew of pass rushers capable of pressuring mistakes from QB Matt Schaub, who is struggling in long-yardage situations. He had an interception returned for a touchdown in the past two games. The game plan is similar for Houston's defense, which will focus on containing RB Marshawn Lynch. When minus a strong ground game, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has often been on the run this season, scrambling behind an offensive line missing Pro Bowl LT Russell Okung.
*Matchup to watch - Seahawks offensive line vs. Texans DL J.J. Watt: Seattle's offensive line enters beat up, with C Max Unger (arm), RG J.R. Sweezy (back) and RT Breno Giacomini (knee) all limited in practice this week. Watt, nicknamed "J.J. Swatt" for his ability to knock down passes, will move inside and out seeking the best mismatch (all the Seahawks' linemen will be overmatched one-on-one) and could generate the turnovers Houston needs while getting in the throwing lanes of the undersized Wilson.
*Player spotlight - Seahawks FS Earl Thomas: Schaub has thrown four interceptions, but the Texans still like to take shots off play-action. With SS Kam Chancellor patrolling toward the line of scrimmage in run support, Thomas' tremendous range is critical as the last line of defense.
*Fast facts: Wilson's 73 pass attempts are the fewest among quarterbacks with three starts this season. ... The Texans are 14-2 since the start of the 2011 season when they have a 100-yard rusher.
The Seattle bandwagon is rapidly picking up passengers, but this is still a team that must prove it can beat playoff contenders on the road. Houston's front seven controls the game against Seattle's creaky offensive line.
*Our pick: Texans 20-16

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