GAME DATE: 10/7/07
TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
SERIES: 3rd meeting. Texans lead 2-0, including a win in the 2003 season opener that snapped Miami's 11-game, opening-day win streak. Last season, the Texans won 17-15 when Ronnie Brown's two-point conversion pass was defended by Houston rookie Mario Williams. Andre Johnson had nine catches for 101 yards.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Now that Brown has opponents legitimately concerned about the ground game, the Dolphins are counting on QB Trent Green's numbers (five touchdowns, seven interceptions) to improve. Brown will get his carries early, but Green must take advantage of Houston's secondary, where CB DeMarcus Faggins has struggled enough to put his starting job in jeopardy. The Texans' young and athletic defensive line can solve that issue by getting after the immobile Green. ... Texans coach Gary Kubiak said he wants better decision-making out of QB Matt Schaub, but the first-year starter is without his top weapon, injured WR Andre Johnson. With RB Ahman Green's status also very iffy, it could be left to Ron Dayne to attack a Dolphins defense allowing just a shade under 200 yards per game on the ground.
KEY INJURIES: Dolphins: MLB Zach Thomas (concussion) is expected to play after missing two games; OLB Channing Crowder (sprained ankle) would be replaced by Derrick Pope; SS Travares Tillman (knee), SS Donovin Darius and DT Vonnie Holliday are out, replaced by Cameron Worrell and Rodrique Wright. Texans: Green (knee) is practicing a little but uncertain; Johnson and WR Jacoby Jones (shoulder) are out, with WR Jerome Mathis (lower leg) also unlikely to go.
KEY STATS: The Dolphins are allowing opponents to convert 51.8 percent of their third-down opportunities, worst in the NFL. ... Texans DT Amobi Okoye's 4.0 sacks are already just 0.5 shy of DE Mario Williams' franchise rookie record set last season.