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October

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans: Key Matchups

J.J. Watt

J.J. Watt has been the NFL’s best defensive player so far in 2012

The Green Bay Packers have a big road matchup on Sunday Night Football against the Houston Texans.  It’s a tough matchup following an tough loss at Indianapolis last weekend.  The Texans are clearly one of the best teams in the NFL and are undefeated at 5-0.

The Packers will need to put together their best overall performance in order to get a win.  Doing so would be big step in the right direction for the Pack.  Let’s look at the key matchups that will likely factor into the outcome.

Texans DE JJ Watt vs. PackersBryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton

Normally a QB matchup would lead off this segment but JJ Watt is the most important guy on the field for the Texans right now.  He leads the NFL in sacks with 8.5 and talk of his being Defensive Player of the Year has already begun.

The Texans run a base 3-4 and Watt lines up on the left side of the line.  Because of his skill set, Watt can stunt outside or in and will likely matchup against both Bulaga and Sitton along with C Jeff Saturday.  Houston will likely mix it up in order to keep the Packer OL off balance and create favorable matchups.  Any success by Watt spells trouble for the Packer offense.

Bulaga’s play has dropped off, at least statistically this season.  Our very own Adam Czech breaks it down further.  As mentioned, the Packers are going to have to turn in one of their most technically sound games to come out with a win.  This rings especially true for the O line and Bulaga.  Confidence is a big part of a player’s success on the field.  In addition to the fundamentals, Bulaga needs to come in determined to win his matchups.

Sitton continues to be one of the Pack’s best O linemen, but the line as a whole has not been consistent.  He will surely have his hands full with DT Shaun Cody as well as Watt.  Again, confidence is key to Sitton’s performance.  It’s the one factor he can control and improve between now and game time.  Houston’s pass rush has been effective this year and keeping Watt at bay will help neutralize a majority of it.  It will also dramatically increase Green Bay’s chances of winning this one.