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Better Know the Enemy: Houston Texans

A look ahead at this week's Jets foe

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Oct 4, 2012  |  Updated 6:11 PM EDT
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Better Know the Enemy: Houston Texans

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Blocking J.J. Watt is as thankless as a task gets these days.

Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Jets' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Houston Texans.

Someone in the NFL has a pretty good sense of humor when it comes to scheduling. 

Putting the 49ers and Texans back to back on the Jets' schedule just begs you to make the obvious observation that the Jets have absolutely no identity as a football team. They talk about being a tough, run-oriented football team that wins by limiting their mistakes and creating mistakes by the other team. 

That hasn't been the reality since the 2010 season in Jersey, but it has been the reality in San Francisco and Houston. Both the 49ers and the Texans follow that blueprint to a T, right down to the unspectacular quarterback who can manage a game well enough to let the team's real strengths lead them to victory. 

It has to be especially galling to Rex Ryan to see that the Niners and Texans are two of the top three teams in the league right now by virtue of the very game plan he espouses as the Jets' bread and butter. That gall level will only rise if the Texans do what many people expect and put a serious whupping on the Jets for the second straight week. 

Since they have a team that looks a lot like the one from 49ers, with the addiiton of a more dangerous passing attack, that seems like a pretty good prediction. Below you'll find some of the guys who make that outcome seem like the likeliest result of Monday night's matchup. 

J.J. Watt: One of the biggest differences between the 3-4 and the 4-3 defenses is the role of the defensive ends. The 3-4 usually isn't staffed with playmakers at that spot, preferring to let the outside linebackers get the glory. 

Watt, like Justin Smith of the Niners, is a glaring exception thanks to his ability to make play after play in a scheme that isn't designed for him to do that. Watt has 7.5 sacks already this season and stands as the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner at the quarter pole. 

Arian Foster: Foster's decision to adopt a vegan diet hasn't had any noticeable affect on his ability to run the football. After last weekend's debacle, it isn't hard to conjure up visions of Foster dancing through the defense on Monday night. 

Wade Phillips: The history of the NFL is littered with great assistants and coordinators who flopped as head coaches, but few of them have been able to renew their reputations as quickly as Phillips has in Houston. Between Watt, Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin and Brian Cushing, Phillips has a young, versatile roster to deploy in pursuit of opposing quarterbacks. 

Matt Schaub: We called Schaub unspectacular up top, which is true if not entirely exact. Schaub isn't an A-list quarterback but, with Andre Johnson running under his passes, he's certainly able to win a game if circumstances force it. He's also tough enough to withstand losing a piece of his ear without missing more than a couple of plays so its unlikely a Revis-less secondary is going to throw him much. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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