The winless Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings are squaring off in Week 4 to see who gets their first win in the 2020 regular season.
Week 4 Preview: Houston Texans Versus Minnesota Vikings
Offense needs to be dominant in the passing game
Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans offense had its highest scoring output in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers with 21 points before halftime. The issue is they ended the game with the same amount of points as they disappointingly lost to the Steelers.
The Texans run game has been nonexistent since the season opener when they rushed for 118 yards. In the last two weeks, Houston has relied heavily on the passing game to jumpstart the offense. Houston has rushed for 80 yards in the last two weeks, and rank 31st in the NFL with an average of 66 yards per game.
The worst part is that the rushing game hasn't even been a running back by committee approach since they lost Duke Johnson in Week 1. C.J.Prosise has been the only other runner that has seen time in the backfield, and he only has recorded one carry for one yard.
However, the good news is that Duke Johnson is a full participant in practice for this week, and the Vikings have the 26th ranked run defense in the league as they have allowed opponents to average 147.7 yards per game.
The Texans have a great chance to get their running game back on track, but Houston should also look to exploit the Vikings' passing defense in Week 4. Minnesota is allowing an average of 292.3 yards, which ranks 30th in the league.
The Vikings has announced that Mike Holton is out for Week 4 and Kris Boyd is listed as doubtful. Based on the last three opponents, the Texans should have a better opportunity to get their offense rolling against the Vikings defense.
The offense has a lot hinging to prevent an 0-4 start, which would be the first time that has occurred since Bill O'Brien took the head coaching gig in 2014.
Texans defense needs to keep Kirk Cousins in check
The Houston Texans defense has struggled against the run through the first three games and currently hold the worst run defense in the league. Houston is allowing an atrocious average of 188.3 yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Vikings have the eighth-best rushing attack with 146.7 yards per game. Minnesota is projected to have a great game against the Texans defense, so it isn't rocket science that Houston must limit the Vikings damage through the air.
The Vikings have the 28th passing attack with an average of 193.7 yards per game meanwhile Houston has the 3rd best pass defense by only allowing 199.3 yards per game.
One has to wonder whether the Texans passing defense has forced opposing offenses to establish the run game, or their run defense is so bad that opposing offenses prefer attacking that weakness rather than be aggressive with their aerial attack.
Either way, the Texans' defense needs to hold the Vikings' offense through the air if they hope to limit the overall damage. Houston is hurting for a win after dropping a winnable game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
It doesn't matter how the Houston Texans win at this point as long as they get their first win on the win-loss column.