When: Sunday, 10 a.m., Reliant Stadium, Houston
Record: 5-7, after losing their fourth consecutive game Sunday – 23-18 to the Jaguars in Jacksonville
Where they rank: No. 9 on offense (tied for 29th rushing, 4th passing); No. 16 on defense (22nd rushing, 14th passing)
Series: Seahawks won the only meeting, 42-10 at Qwest Field during their 11-game winning streak in 2005
Star power: Andre Johnson. The big (6 feet 3, 225 pounds) and big-play wide receiver leads the Texans in receiving – by 26 receptions. His 70 catches also rank eighth in the NFL, he’s third in receiving yards (1,044) and his 14.9-yard average is second-best among those with at least 65 receptions behind the Patriot’s Randy Moss (15.6). And Johnson is actually having a “down” year. Of course it’s relative, when you’re coming off a 115-catch, 1,575-yard season that also produced 79 receptions that went for first downs (he has 46 this year) and 20 pass plays of 20-plus yards (13 this year). But the three-time Pro Bowl selection remains the Texans’ go-to option on offense.
Unsung hero: Matt Schaub. Yes, he’s the starting quarterback and the Texans did give up two second-round draft choices and flopped first-round picks with the Falcons in 2007 to obtain Schaub in a trade. But what he did Sunday was beyond impressive. Schaub has his left shoulder dislocated when he was sacked on the first play against the Jaguars. But it was popped back into place and he returned to complete 19 of 27 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. Schaub is expected to play against the Seahawks, but coach Gary Kubiak won’t be certain until he sees Schaub in practice Wednesday and Thursday.
On the spot: It’s Kubiak, at least externally. Your team loses four in a row to division foes – even if it is by an average margin of 4.7 points per game – and the heat gets turned up. The Texans were touted as a playoff contender in their fourth season under Kubiak. Instead, they’ve fallen from 5-3 to 5-7.
Burning question: Will Steve Slaton play this week? The Texans’ leading rusher (437 yards) and second-leading receiver (44 catches) is seeing a specialist in Dallas today because he has been experiencing numbness in his shoulder that extended to his thumb on Friday. He did not play against the Jaguars. “He’ll be reevaluated and will be day to day,” Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle.
Familiar faces: Backup FS Brian Russell was the Seahawks’ starter the past two seasons before being released in September and backup MLB Kevin Bentley was with them from 2005-07. The Texans also have three assistant coaches who were with the Seahawks – senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes (2003-07), running backs coach Chick Harris (1983-91) and linebackers coach Johnny Holland (2000-02).
The last word: “I’m very disappointed, as I think everybody is right now, but I don’t worry about myself. I’ve got a lot of people that I’ve got to get a smile back on their face, and I’m going to keep working to do that.” – Kubiak