Texans face a huge challenge against the Commanders in Week 11

When the 2022 NFL regular season schedule was released, most fans and local sports media personalities saw that the Houston Texans would be playing the NFC East.

The thought was that the back-to-back games against the New York Giants and Washington Commanders were winnable. They had reason to be so comfortable with the two teams finishing with a combined record of 11-23 in 2021.

Now in Week 11, the odds do not look good for the Texans, having lost to the Giants by 24-16 in Week 10. They will now face a red-hot Commanders team on Sunday that has won four out of their last five games and gave an undefeated Philadelphia Eagles team their first loss on Monday night.

“They play with a lot of intensity and a lot of aggression,” said Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey. “I think they have a team that never backs down and is always looking to get an edge. That’s when you become successful, and we saw that last night (Monday) against the Eagles. We’re going to expect them to bring their best and try to run the ball against us. For this week, we just have to stop the bleeding and be a better run stopping defense.”

Washington dominated the time of possession against Philadelphia, holding the ball for 40 minutes. They used a balanced attack from running backs Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson to rush for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a good player,” Texans defensive lineman Ogbonnia Okoronkwo said about Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. “I think a lot of teams will try to run the ball, so I don’t think we’re going to stop seeing that until we stop it.”

Stopping the run is something that Houston’s defense has not been able to do this season, surrendering 181.8 yards rushing per game. Against the Giants, running back Saquan Barkley rushed for a season-high 35 times for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Even with their run-stopping deficiencies, the Texans have competed throughout the game this season; they just haven’t been able to put together a string of complete games.

“Well, it is frustrating,” Texans head coach Lovie Smith said after the loss to the Giants. “You can only talk so much about, ‘Hey, we’re close man and keep going, we’re going to get over the hump.’ But for whatever reason, and not for whatever reason we kind of know the reason, turnovers, not taking the ball away. Just some explosive plays at the end, we’re going to keep going to work on that.

“We realize what the problem is and what the results say a little bit, but we are close. Eventually I do feel like we’re going to get over the hump. So far, we look at the first half of the season. We just finished up the first half of the season – not good enough. But we still can see promise for the second half.”

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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire