Saturday night. Reliant Stadium. Things are gonna jump off.
That's right, it's the Saints vs. the Texans in a battle royale of bad blood and....and...well, it is the preseason after all. I mean, if this were in the regular season, things would be different, but...
I dont' think they will be. See, as close in proximity as Houston and New Orleans are, there's never been the rivalry like the one with the Cowboys. Not even back in the old Houston Oiler days. That was partly because the Saints were so bad all the time, but there was certainly room for bad blood. After all, the Saints took Bum and Earl from us at the end. That has to mean something, right?
It really doesn't. I don't know anyone who speaks of the Saints with the same venom as the Cowboys wield for Houston football fans. That's why I think this "rivalry," set up more by geography than reality, has a lot in common with the Astros-Rangers rivalry. That, too, is predicated all on geography and little on actual competitive juices. Plus, that matchup has the underlying Dallas-Houston tension and STILL falls short.
That's all a prelude to saying that Saturday's matchup with the Saints will be important. It's still a preseason game and there's no real rivalry there, but it will be pivotal for many on the Texans roster. They may hold off a little while, but this could be the week after which we see multiple players cut. Things are speeding up on the roster-making front and play in this game will stand out for bubble players like Bryan Braman and Lester Jean.
Our own Daniel Charles has already broken down what you need to be watching for Saturday, but I'll add one more thing that I'll be looking for. How Wade's defense does against a much more potent offensive attack with Drew Brees and Co. will go a long way to setting up my expectations for the early part of this season. It won't be the end-all, be-all, and we'll only be looking at a small sample of plays in the first half, but I'd like to see the same pass rush the Texans got against the Jets again before I get too excited about sweeping changes on the defensive side of the ball.
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