The bright lights of Monday Night Football will set the stage as the Jets and Texans face off in the final matchup of Week 5 in the NFL. The Texans (4-0) come to town as the only unbeaten team in the AFC and the NFL leader in point differential at plus-70. The Jets (2-2) have an unbeaten record of sorts, having won all five regular-season meetings with the Texans, including Rex Ryan's head coaching debut in 2009.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is coming off his best performance of the season, with a Total QBR of 86.6 against the Titans. Mark Sanchez posted a Total QBR of 2.8 against the 49ers, his fifth performance under 5.0 since the beginning of 2009. That is the most such games in the NFL over that time.
The injury bug hit the Jets again as top receiver Santonio Holmes is now lost for the remainder of the year. The active Jets leader from a year ago becomes Jeremy Kerley, who accounted for 8.5 percent of total targets in 2011. The run game may be called upon more but will face a tough test against the only defense that has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season.
Here are three matchups to watch:
1. The Jets will have to game plan on defense around stopping Arian Foster, who leads the NFL in rush attempts (103) and total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) this season. Foster has been vulnerable behind the line of scrimmage, but so has the Jets defense. It's a battle that one team will need to control for a win. Only Alfred Morris has been contacted in the backfield on more rush attempts (16) than Foster and LeSean McCoy (15 each) this year. The Jets, meanwhile, have allowed a league-worst 4.6 yards per rush after first contact in the backfield. With Foster a constant threat to run, the play fake is also prominent for the Texans, who lead the AFC in play-action pass attempts since the start of 2011.
Most Plays Run With 2-Plus TEs
2. The Texans use multiple tight-end sets often and lead the league in plays run with at least two or more on the field this season. Houston is third in the NFL averaging 6.9 yards after catch from players at the position. The Jets have been stingy on defense, allowing 0.6 yards after contact per TE reception, good for second in the league, and an average of 2.4 yards after catch per TE reception, which leads the NFL.
3. The offensive line for the Jets will matchup with a force in J.J. Watt, who leads the NFL with 7.5 sacks through four games. Among defensive ends, Watt is tied for the lead with three batted passes and leads outright in tackles for loss. The Houston defense as a whole has sent five or more pass rushers on 48.3 percent of dropbacks since 2011, the most aggressive unit in the NFL. Houston also leads the league with a 7.4 Total QBR-allowed when using added pressure this season. The Jets have held fast and not allowed a sack against five or more pass rushers in 2012, one of only four teams left to share that claim.