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The Houston Texans (2-0) will give their starters their last significant playing time of the 2012 preseason when they take on the New Orleans Saints (1-2) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday, August 25.
The game will be televised nationally on CBS and kicks off at 7 p.m.
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston media Sunday that he expects to play his starters through the third quarter in their final tuneup before the Sept. 9 regular season opener against the Miami Dolphins.
Houston’s first string looked good on both sides of the ball in a 20-9 win against San Francisco last Saturday at Reliant Stadium. QB Matt Schaub finished with a 128.6 passer rating after completing 11-of-14 pass attempts for 128 yards and a 9-yard touchdown pass to WR Lestar Jean. The Texans’ defense held the 49ers without a touchdown and recorded two more sacks to run their preseason total to 10 in two games.
The Texans’ special teams garnered the most attention in the win against the 49ers. WR Trindon Holliday made a strong case for a spot on the final 53-man roster with his second return touchdown of the preseason.
The third-year speedster took a fourth-quarter punt 87 yards for a score against San Francisco, adding to the 90-yard kickoff return he scored on in the preseason opener at Carolina. Houston’s place-kicking battle continued in the game as veteran K Shayne Graham banged home 48- and 49-yard attempts against the 49ers while rookie K Randy Bullock pushed his 51-yard attempt wide right.
Saturday’s matchup will feature the NFL’s top two combined yardage leaders of the preseason in Holliday and Saints RB Travaris Cadet. Holliday ranks second in the NFL in kickoff return yards (220) and punt return yards (129) through two games for 349 combined yards. The rookie from Appalachian State leads the NFL with 368 combined yards, 19 receptions and 171 receiving yards this preseason.
Saturday’s game will also be the final contest before the NFL’s first roster cuts, which designate that all rosters have to be at 75 by 4 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 27.
Houston and New Orleans have met in each of the last four preseasons, splitting those contests. The Texans and Saints met in Week 3 of the regular season with New Orleans claiming a 40-33 decision the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey both had more than 125 yards receiving in the see-saw shootout. New Orleans outscored Houston 23-14 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 19-17 deficit and hand the Texans their first loss of the 2011 season. Schaub threw for 372 yards and three scores, while Saints QB Drew Brees totaled 370 yards passing and two touchdown passes.
The Texans hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time preseason series with the Saints but trail 2-1 in the regular season series.