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VanderBlog: Crescent City Clash 


This is the 16th time the Texans have faced the Saints overall. Houston leads the preseason series 6-4. In the regular season, it's been another story, with the only Texans win coming in 2015. That game is memorable for now-NRG stadium sideline MC Cecil Shorts III throwing a TD pass to Alfred Blue. 

The last match-up that counted was a Monday Night Football heartbreaker to start the season. Drew Brees, who first saw the Texans in 2002 as a Charger, drove the Saints into long field goal range with seconds left. I almost coughed up the chargrilled oysters I consumed at Drago's earlier in the day.

Last season, Houston got a 17-13 August win at NRG. And, this is a good water-cooler 'did you know..' – The first win of any kind for the Texans was a 13-10 triumph in New Orleans in 2002. 

Anyway, I'm a tad upset we won't see Derek Carr but Jameis Winston will give the H-Town 'D' plenty to focus on. DeMeco Ryans knows the Saints will also try to run early and often. Job one for the Texans is to shore up the rush defense after last week's game against Miami.

It's notable that the Saints have a 2014 second round pick in Carr, running their offense. And the number one overall pick in 2015, Winston, as a back-up. Such is life in the NFL. No matter where a player is drafted you never know where the journey will take them. 

The Texans have faced the Saints and Cowboys more than any other teams in the preseason. This makes sense geographically. Fans can drive and see their team play, often with bargain-priced secondary market tickets. It's a terrific opportunity.

Why not have the Texans play Dallas every year? Houston fans like making the trip to Dallas while Cowboy fans enjoy coming to NRG Stadium. There are a lot of Dallas fans here, some are even Texans season ticket members. 

That's OK, the Texans are inclusive and will welcome them. The only time this becomes problematic is every eight years when the Cowboys visit for the regular season. So far, Houston is 2-1 in those contests, with the next one slated for 2026.

The Saints 'rivalry' doesn't generate quite as much heat as the Dallas series. I've always likened New Orleans to somewhat of a sister team. It's certainly competitive with them, yet somehow more friendly.

Speaking of 'friendly,' that's what you call a game that doesn't count in soccer. We've got a good one Sunday for the Texans (7pm FOX 26, Sports Radio 610, The Bull 100.3 FM). 

What does count is being more efficient and productive on offense and leaving the Crescent city with a good feeling going into the opener.

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