Better tackling is a top priority
“We don’t want to be on the end of his record setting,” he continued. “We’ve got to do our job and really not get caught up in all that.”
The Texans (12-2) need a win to secure both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. To do that they’ll have to slow Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher.
“It’s going to be the biggest challenge we’ve had around here in a while,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said.
The Texans’ defense led by star defensive end J.J. Watt is fifth in the NFL in yards rushing allowed a game with 93.2 — and Peterson is averaging 129.4. But he’s been even more dominant of late, averaging 162.4 yards over the last eight games with two 200-yard performances.
“Peterson is a great running back,” Watt said. “He’s playing as good as anyone in the league right now.”
When asked how to slow Peterson down, Watt had a simple answer.
“Tackle him,” he said with a chuckle. “We just need to play sound defense and execute our assignments and we’ll be just fine.”
That’s easier said than done, and Kubiak is a bit concerned because he thought his team didn’t tackle very well in Sunday’s 29-17 win over Colts. He said that he’s putting extra emphasis on better tackling.
He’s also hoping the Texans adjust well to facing a run-first team after weeks of dealing with pass-happy offenses.
“The thing that’s really difficult is we’ve been playing teams that are a lot different,” Kubiak said. “We’ve been playing teams that kind of spread us out, throw the ball. Now all of the sudden we’ve got to line up and tackle the best in football. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
“Obviously (Peterson) can’t score a touchdown without running past the back end, and we know the secondary is the last line of defense,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “You have to be on top of your tackling game 100 percent this week.”
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is averaging 129.4 yards per game this season, but 162.4 over the past eight games.