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5 Things to Watch: Texans at Giants

**Here are Five Things to Watch when the Texans face the Giants at MetLife Stadium Sunday at noon CT. *

1. Turnover Margin One big reason the Texans are 2-0 in 2014 is the number 5.

They've turned the ball over just once this season, as opposed to forcing six turnovers combined

against Washington and Oakland. A pair of picks and two fumble recoveries against the Raiders helped propel the Texans to a win, and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel explained how his unit has been able to get takeaways.

"A lot of the turnovers have come on extra effort plays," Crennel said. "We preach that to the guys, about hustling to the football, and when you hustle, some good things can happen."

That 5 mark is tied for second-best in the NFL behind the leader Carolina, with 6. The four starters in the Texans' secondary have all forced at least one turnover this season, and safety D.J. Swearinger's actually stripped the ball loose before an opposing pass-catcher made it to the end zone.

"Our DB's have done a really good job of creating turnovers down the field after the catch," outside linebacker Brooks Reed said. "They do that in practice every day, so it wasn't anything to them."

Playing against a quarterback in Eli Manning, who's already been picked off four times in a pair of losses, gives the Texans another chance at picking up some more interceptions. Last season, he was the worst in the NFL with 27 interceptions. Still, with a pair of Super Bowl rings to his credit, the Texans were very respectful when discussing the New York field general.

"Nothing that we're going to do is really going to surprise him," linebacker Brian Cushing said. "At the end you just have to play hard and on top of it and just try to force him into some bad situations."

2. Tight ends at full strength: Sunday will likely be the first time in the regular season the Texans will have all three tight ends on the roster available to suit up in a game.

In Week 1, Garrett Graham was out with a back injury before returning to work against the Raiders. Last Sunday at Oakland, C.J. Fiedorowicz didn't play because of a foot ailment. Fiedorowicz practiced this week with his teammates, and will probably play.

Between that group of three, they've combined to catch a pair of passes for 32 yards. But instead of that being a negative, Fitzpatrick said it's a byproduct of something else.

"We haven't thrown a ton of passes the first two games just the way the games have played out," Fitzpatrick said. "I think that's one of the unique things about this offense is that it really is a week-to-week offense in terms of what you're going to see from us."

3. Wrinkles: While the tight end trio above hasn't caught a large chunk of passes, the tight end

position actually caught a touchdown pass at Oakland in the form of J.J. Watt. The 2012 Defensive Player of the Year opened the scoring in the win over the Raiders when he hauled in a toss from Fitzpatrick. It was unexpected, yes. But it was not a 'gimmick' play.

"As Coach O'Brien said, it's not a gimmick," Watt said. "It's one of those things where I feel like we can help the team score points or help them get in the end zone on the goal line by bringing me in there."

Watt might not line up on offense this week. Further, he might not line up on offense again this season. But he might. That threat is something opposing teams will now have to devote a bit of practice time preparing for Watt.

Other wrinkles in the O'Brien offense are possible. If and when they arise, is certainly something to monitor against the Giants.

4. Jason Pierre-Paul- The Giants' defensive end is a supremely talented pass rusher, and so far in

2014 he's logged 1.5 sacks and eight tackles. Godsey said the entire offensive line must be ready for Pierre-Paul.

"He's long," Pierre-Paul said. "He's powerful. When he gets started, it's hard to stop him. So I think with a guy like that, he's going to play throughout the front. He doesn't just play on the offensive left and it's definitely one of the keys of the game, making sure he doesn't wreck it."

According to a blog post on, Pierre-Paul said "nothing" about the Texans had him overly worried.

"I feel like we should be able to handle their offense, and nothing concerns me," Pierre-Paul said.

The Texans offensive line hasn't allowed a sack this season.

5. Double Trouble: With Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, the Texnas have a pair of wide

receivers who present matchup problems for opposing defenses. The latter has caught a touchdown in each of the first two games, while the former leads the team in receptions and yards, and has personally caught 11 passes that have resulted in first downs.

Running back Arian Foster is atop the AFC with 241 rushing yards, so Houston hasn't had to throw the ball as much. The Texans are currently ranked 30th in the NFL in passing yards, but that doesn't bother Johnson, who has 12 catches for 167 yards this season.

"We're winning," Johnson said. "I don't think none of that really matters. If we can run the ball with Arian 27 times and keep winning, then I'm all for it. You have to adjust as the game goes on. If teams can't stop the run, then we'll continue to run it."

If things change, though, and the Texans are forced to throw more, Fitzpatrick has a pair of reliable and dynamic receivers to work with in Johnson and Hopkins.


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