Here are five things to mull over before today’s 1 p.m. kickoff between the Falcons (3-0) and the Houston Texans (1-2) at Georgia Dome:
- Therezie to start at free safety. Rookie Robensen Therezie, who made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent from Auburn, is set to make his first NFL start. Therezie has played in each of the past two games for Ricardo Allen. He played 10 of 68 defensive snaps (15 percent) against the Giants and 8 of 53 snaps (15 percent) against Dallas. He was active for the opener against the Eagles, but did not play. Look for the Texans to test him early. In addition to Allen (knee), wide receiver Devin Hester (toe), running back Tevin Coleman (ribs) and right end Jacob Tamme (concussion) were listed as “out” for the game.
- Reed expected to play: If Brooks Reed doesn’t play, he’d be the first player listed as probable by head coach Dan Quinn not to play in a game this season. Reed missed the first three games of the season while recovering from groin surgery. Reed was a major free-agent acquisition for the Falcons during the off season, when they signed him to a four-year contract that included $9 million guaranteed. Reed started 52 games for the Texans over the past four seasons.
- Second quarter: The Texans have been outscored 32-3 in the second quarter. The Falcons have score 30 and given up 30 in the second quarter.
- The possible return of Foster. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said that running back Arian Foster will be a game time decision. The clock will run out on him 90 minutes before kickoff. That’s when he’ll have to declare his inactives. Foster and Alfred Blue, who rushed for 139 yards last week against Tampa Bay, would give the Texans two backs send at the Falcons defense, which is giving up 95.6 yards per game (15th in the league). The former Pro Bowl running back, who’s trying to come back from groin surgery, is listed as questionable on the injury report. He said he feels like he has a chance to play.
- Rushing attack: Can second-year running back Devonta Freeman have an encore rushing performance? He rushed for 141 yards in his first NFL start last week. The Texans are giving up 3.8 yards per carry.
- Tuggle family reunion: Former Falcons great Jessie “The Hammer” Tuggle will be the team’s honoree. The team is honoring one of their former players at each home game during this 50th anniversary season. Also, Tuggle will get to see two of his sons play, Justin Tuggle is a linebacker for the Texans and Grady Jarrett is defensive tackle for the Falcons. Jessie Tuggle, who played 14 season for the Falcons, was a five-time Pro Bowler. Jessie Tuggle made the Falcons after signing as an undrafted free agent from Valdosta State in 1987. He led the NFL in tackles for two years (1990 & 1991) and is the all-time leader in Falcons history with 1,830 career tackles. He also led the Falcons in tackles in 10 of his 14 seasons.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and CineSport’s Noah Coslov discuss what’s led to Julio Jones’ big numbers, the Falcons’ first half struggles and the challenges ahead against the Texans on Sunday.
COWBOYS GAME COVERAGE — Falcons 39, Cowboys 28
GIANTS GAME COVERAGE — Falcons 24, Giants 20
GIANTS WEEK COVERAGE
EAGLES GAME COVERAGE — FALCONS 26, EAGLES 24
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