By Jay Betsill
Houston Texans vs. New York Giants
Sunday – September 21 – 12:00 pm
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford
The first place Houston Texans (2-0) travel to the Meadowlands to battle the New York Giants (0-2) at MetLife Stadium. While the Texans appear to have rebounded from their sub-par season from last year, the Giants are on their way to matching last season’s 0-6 start.
The key for both teams through the first two weeks of the NFL season are simple: turnover margin.
In 2013, Houston had the worst turnover margin in the league at minus-20 and this season they are plus-5, trailing only the Carolina Panthers in efficiency. The Texans had two interceptions and recovered two fumbles in last week’s 30-14 road win over the Raiders.
“Obviously, probably most importantly, they (games) come down to turnovers,” said head coach Bill O’Brien. “So, if you’re the team that doesn’t turn it over and the other team does turn it over, then you’ve got a heck of a shot to win and our team is doing a pretty good job of that right now.”
The Giants had four turnovers in last week’s 25-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals were playing without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, but the Giants ineptitude on offense and a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ted Ginn, Jr. gave them their ninth win in 11 games. New York is currently last in the league with a minus-6 turnover margin.
“I think when you are 0-2, you want to get a win soon,” said Eli Manning, who has four interceptions in the Giants pair of losses. “We have the Texans coming in and we have another home game, so hopefully we’ve got to get better, but we have to do it soon. We don’t have a whole lot of time to keep waiting to get better.”
Arian Foster, who is leading the AFC with 241 yards rushing in the first two weeks, was listed as questionable. Guard Ben Jones and safety D.J. Swearinger are also listed as questionable for the Texans. Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is out for Sunday’s game.
Giants tackles James Brewer and Charles Brown and punter Steve Weatherford are listed as questionable while linebacker Jon Beason, receiver Odell Beckham and linebacker Devon Kennard are officially out against Houston.
While the Texans did begin last season 2-0 before losing 14 consecutive games to finish the season, this year’s version appears to have returned to the form that saw them in the postseason in 2011 and 2012. Look for Houston to have a convincing win, 28-10.