TV: CBS, Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker
SERIES: Second meeting. Houston Texans lead 1-0. The Texans won the only meeting when they met for the season opener in 2003. The Texans trailed 14-6 at the half, but used 219 total yards in the second half and a Kris Brown 35-yard field goal with seconds remaining to pull off the 21-20 upset. It was the first time in 11 years the Dolphins lost a season opener.
2006 RANKINGS: Dolphins: offense 26th (20th rush, 24th pass); defense 7th (17th rush, 8th pass). Texans: offense 29th (25th rush, 23rd pass); defense 32nd (29th rush, 32nd pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Dolphins kick off a key three-game road trip still waiting for QB Daunte Culpepper to show his pre-injury form. In the meantime, Coach Nick Saban has expressed a desire to ride RB Ronnie Brown and control the game on the ground. The Texans would appear to be a secondary for Culpepper to get healthy against, and Houston desperately needs No. 1 overall pick DE Mario Williams to show improvement and lead a better pass rush to help out the cover men. Texans QB David Carr has a 113.6 passer rating, but Coach Gary Kubiak is still challenging him to eliminate his few poor decisions per game and become the unit's leader. Kubiak has also stressed the need for a good start so RBs Ron Dayne and Samkon Gado can each receive significant carries and be evaluated in the same game.
FAST FACTS: Dolphins: WR Chris Chambers has three receptions for 22 yards in the first half of games this season and 10 for 131 in the second half. ... WR Wes Welker leads the team with 14 catches for 167 yards and leads the AFC with a 14.7 punt return average. Texans: WR Eric Moulds has 11 touchdown catches in 20 career games against Miami. ... Carr's 113.6 passer rating and 72.0 completion percentage lead the NFL.
PERSONNEL NEWS: Dolphins:
--WR Derek Hagan has been wearing No. 80 in practice this week so he could better impersonate Texans receiver Andre Johnson. The rookie hasn't been able to get on the field much because of the stellar play of third receiver Wes Welker, who leads the team in receptions (14) and yardage (167) after three games.
-- K Olindo Mare is thrilled to go on a three-game road trip just so he could escape the infield dirt of Dolphin Stadium. Mare missed a 30-yarder off the dirt last week. Actually, the Marlins season is done Sunday, so the dirt will be gone by next week.
-- WR Chris Chambers may appear to be off to a slow start but his numbers are eerily similar to last year's after three games. Chambers had 13 catches for 153 yards, compared to the 14 and 154 he had at this stage last season. Chambers caught fire the second half of the season.
-- WR Andre Johnson is third in the NFL with 21 receptions for 309 yards. Last season, he finished with just 688 total receiving yards.
-- RB Ron Dayne will receive the majority of carries on Sunday, with Samkon Gado also getting some looks. Wali Lundy has moved down to the third back. He may be used in the return game.