In Week 3 of the 2019 regular season, the Los Angeles Chargers host the Houston Texans in a battle of teams that made the playoffs last season.
The Texans will make just their second trip to Los Angeles in team history when they face the Chargers. These are two teams with high hopes after each team qualified for the playoffs last year.
For much of the season, it seemed the Chargers and Texans were on a collision course toward the postseason and that was thrown off course at the end of the regular season. The Chargers advanced past the Wild Card round while the Texans were defeated at home by the Indianapolis Colts.
The Texans start the season on the road against the New Orleans Saints then host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. Those should each be competitive games before making the trip to Los Angeles.
Texans at Chargers: September 22, 2019, at 1:25 pm PST
All-time series: Chargers lead 5-1. The Texans’ only win in the series came on the road in September 2013. In the most recent meeting between the teams back in November 2016, Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes in a 21-13 Chargers victory.
Dontrelle Inman had a career day, catching six passes for 119 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown.
The Texans don’t have weapons at running back or tight end that would intimidate a defense, but the fact that the team has Hopkins, arguably the best wide receiver in football, will be a challenge for the secondary. Add the fact that Watson is highly effective as a mobile quarterback, and it’s a tough matchup overall.
When the Chargers have the ball, the key will be keeping Rivers upright. The offensive line will face a stiff test when it goes up against pass rushers Watt and Clowney. This is a game where you’ll likely see Virgil Green in the game as an added pass protector as the Bolts don’t have a player who can handle either of those guys one on one, at least as things currently stand. A player could emerge by the end of this summer to change that thought.
The Texans weren’t overly active in free agency this offseason but they did place a major focus on the secondary. One of those names, Addae, should ring a bell as he was with the Chargers for six seasons.
In addition to these signings, the Texans also drafted Lonnie Johnson and Xavier Crawford. This was all a design to improve a defense that ranked 28th against the pass last season, giving up 343 yards per game through the air.
Addae will likely be looking to stick it to his former team, but the Chargers offense went up against him for years in practice and know his weaknesses.
Now you see why the Texans targeted the secondary this offseason. The team released Johnson, a former first-round pick. He ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills. He was pretty much a total bust for the team, having just one career interception.
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The team couldn’t entice Mathieu to stay and he signed a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Jackson was given big money by the Denver Broncos.
So the question is, do the additions of Roby, Gipson and Addae make up for the losses of Mathieu, Jackson and Johnson?
Key to the game: Pass rushing
Which team can put the most pressure on the quarterback? The Texans racked up 43 sacks last season and have two of the game’s most fearsome pass rushers. On the other side of the ball, the Texans gave up 62 sacks last season, more than any team in the league. That prompted the team to use its first-round pick on Tytus Howard, a tackle out of Alabama State.
Bosa and Ingram will likely be licking their chops leading up to this game knowing that the Texans allowed that many sacks a year ago.