• Brian L. Barefield

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler:Matchups To Watch In Texans Vs Saints Game

There is no bigger stage that the Texans can open up on than the first game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Houston will travel to one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, Mercedes Benz Superdome and play in front of a fan base that is not accustomed to losing.

The last time they were in the stadium, they watched in disbelief as their team came within a missed pass interference call of going to the Super Bowl. So, you know they will have a lot of animosity towards everything non-Saints related. The Texans are seeking their first win in a season opener since 2016 and their first ever win in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Here are a couple of matchups I want you to take a look at on Monday night:

WR DeAndre Hopkins vs CB Marshon Lattimore

There is no better matchup to conclude Week 1 in the NFL than this monstrous battle. First Team All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is coming off a stellar year where he did not drop a pass thrown to him all season. According to Pro Football Focus, Hopkins hauled in 105 catchable balls thrown his way. He finished the season ranked top 5 in the NFL in the following categories: No. 3 in receptions (115), No. 2 in receiving yards (1,572), No. 5 in targets (163), and No. 5 in receiving touchdowns (11) in 16 games.

Hopkins will have his hands full battling one of the leagues best defensive backs in Marshon Lattimore. The former AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2017) and Pro Bowler (2017) led his team in pass defended (12) and forced fumbles (4) last season. Lattimore also added two interceptions to go along with those forced fumbles and ended up tied for sixth in the NFL. His ability to play the opposing teams best wide receiver one-on-one, allows the rest of the Saints defense to cause havoc on offenses.

“Great young player, fast, long, makes plays on the ball,” said Hopkins when asked about Monday’s matchup with Lattimore. “It's going to be a challenge.”

Advantage: DeAndre Hopkins

OT Laremy Tunsil vs Cam Jordan

No name has been hotter in the last few days than left tackle Laremy Tunsil. The former 13th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft was traded from Miami to Houston on Saturday along with wide receiver Kenny Stills for draft picks and two players. Tunsil has been a very good left tackle in the league and has only nine holding penalties in his three years in the NFL. His first task on his new team will be to protect the blindside of Texans franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson from all danger and harm.

“I think that when you look at Laremy, yes he is an excellent pass protector, but there's so many other things he can do,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien reiterated on Monday at his press conference. “He can run block, he's able to get his pads down, he works well with the guys next to him whether it's a tight end to his left or a guard to his right, he works very well with the guys next to him.”

Unfortunately, danger and harm could be New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan’s full legal name. The former University of California star is the first Saints player to have at least 60 tackles and 7.5 sacks in six straight seasons. Jordan was a very disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball last season. He had 12 sacks and 49 tackles to go along with six passes defended. Those stats earned him All-Pro recognition in 2018.

Advantage: Cam Jordan

QB Drew Brees vs S Justin Reid