At a Glance: Texans Defense Is Banged Up

Ian Logue
December 04, 2012 at 12:00pm ET

Looking back at the Miami game, it's tough to wonder if the Patriots struggled offensively because they didn't execute well or if it was because the Dolphins are simply a better team than people give them credit for.

Thanks to injuries Patriots receivers Wes Welker may find himself matched up against some inexperiened defensive backs for the Texans next Monday night. (FILE:USPresswire)

The Dolphins knocked Tom Brady around and did a good job of making him uncomfortable, and looking at the Houston Texans it's tough not to expect more of the same when the two meet next Monday night in Foxboro.

The Texans are ranked 3rd in the AFC in sacks with 36 just ahead of Miami, who is 4th with 33. Miami sacked Brady 4 times and also managed to intercept him, ending his streak of 202 straight passes between interceptions.

Brady and the Patriots managed to do enough to win the game, but looking at Houston it's tough not to be a little concerned.

They got to the Titans' Jake Locker a staggering six times on Sunday and are an opportunistic defense to say the least. They also picked him off three times and if you're not sure why they're sitting with the AFC's best record at 11-1, their defense is definitely the reason.

They've been great at being disruptive and keeping opposing quarterbacks off balance and it's one of the reasons why Houston has been so successful.  They're tied for the lead in the AFC with the Patriots and Broncos with 14 interceptions. They're also great against the run, with their run defense ranked best in the NFL, allowing 87.6 yards per game.  

You put those two things together and the result is why Houston is also tops in points per game having given up an average of just 18.4 this season.

There was some good news for New England on Monday, with Texans coach Gary Kubiak announcing that cornerback Brice McCain fractured his foot during Sunday's win over the Tennessee Titans and will be out for the foreseeable future.  According to Kubiak McCain had surgery Monday to repair the injury and had a screw inserted.  The plan for now is to put him on the injured reserve/designated to return list, which means the Patriots could see him again if the two were to meet in the playoffs.  Thankfully he won't be on the field next Monday night.

Kubiak mentioned that McCain would have likely covered Wes Welker, but it sounds like Welker will be matched up with Brandon Harris - at least for right now.

Also up in the air for next week is cornerback Johnathan Joseph who has been battling a hamstring injury, as well as inside linebacker Bradie James, who has also been hampered with a hamstring.  Cornerback Alan Ball missed Sunday's game against Tennessee with a foot injury, leaving Kubiak with a plethora of problems heading into what will likely be the Texans biggest test of the season.

He talked a little about the fact they're so thin right now and whether or not it was a scary thought to be facing Tom Brady with an experienced bunch in the defensive backfield.

“Well it’s Monday and it’s scary so I’m sure it’s going to be real scary getting toward the end of the week. That’s where we’re at," Kubiak told reporters Monday.  "We know we’re going to play a great player and one of the top passing games in the business for a long, long time. It’s a challenge. Our season is going to be really about some of these young guys really stepping up and what they’ve become here as we continue to move forward. I’m excited for them."

"They’re just going to have to rise to the occasion and we can sure help them if we can rush the passer like we did yesterday.”