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Three Big Things: Texans Week

A look at the top storylines for Sunday's game


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The (Play) Action Of K1 And J.C.

Coach Jonathan Gannon said Kyler Murray's return to the Cardinals last weekend provided the team with "a jolt of energy." Winning helps everything, and orchestrating a game-winning drive in the fashion that K1 did is icing on the cake. Now it's a matter of stringing together some wins. Murray's presence, along with the return of James Conner, brings back the ability to execute explosive play-action calls. Through Week 4, the Cardinals were the NFL's top team at play-action. Once Conner got hurt, the Cardinals dropped to as low as 12, but in Week 10, they increased to sixth in the NFL per Next Gen Stats.

Defusing Explosives In Houston

Texans wide receiver Noah Brown had the third-most receiving yards in Week 10, with 172 yards on seven catches. While he's been on the injury report throughout the week, he's one of the many weapons in Houston's explosive offense, which ranks as one of the NFL's best. They're quarterbacked by rookie C.J. Stroud, who plays like anything but a rookie. Stroud is in the race for league MVP. The Cardinals need to limit Stroud's long ball threat this weekend. Against the Bengals, Stroud had eight pass plays of 20-plus yards. Playing tight coverage and showing schemes he hasn't seen are the key to limiting Stroud's production, since defensive coordinator Nick Rallis said when the rookie "knows where he wants to go with the football, he puts it right on the money."

The Singletary Focus Of Cardinals' Defense

A big reason why Houston is high on the explosive rankings chart is because of players like running back Devin Singletary. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown last weekend against the Bengals. He earned those numbers on 30 rushing attempts, averaging five yards a carry. The Texans place a heavy emphasis on the rushing game, especially with Singletary as their featured back as Dameon Pierce is sidelined. Cardinals safety Budda Baker said the objective remains the same. "You definitely want to stop the run first, just like any other week, and then going from there and getting the quarterback in known passing situations and playing our brand of football."