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Fearless Prediction: Seahawks (5-7) at Texans (5-7)

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Game Snapshot

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
SURFACE: Grass
TV: FOX (Ron Pitts, John Lynch)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Texans QB Matt Schaub will wear a harness to protect his injured left shoulder, but Houston can't afford to dial back its pass-first approach. Not with the secondary being Seattle's biggest defensive weakness and the Texans again staring at a pedestrian ground game led by RBs Chris Brown and Ryan Moats. The Seahawks will work early against a Houston run defense allowing 4.6 yards per carry. Seattle's offensive line struggles in pass protection and QB Matt Hasselbeck will have trouble stretching the field if RBs Julius Jones and Justin Forsett aren't effective. FAST FACTS: Hasselbeck needs 576 passing yards to pass Dave Krieg 26,132 as the franchise's all-time leader. ... The Texans' past three home games have been decided by a total of 14 points.

Personnel News

Seahawks:
  • QB Matt Hasselbeck (shoulder) returned to practice as a full participant on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice, and is expected to play on Sunday.
  • DT Cory Redding (concussion) was a full participant in practice and should be ready to play against Houston after missing last week's game against San Francisco.
  • C Chris Spencer (thumb) continues to snap left handed because of an injury to his right thumb, but he was a full participant again on Thursday and should play on Sunday.
  • LB D.D. Lewis (knee) was a limited participant in practice on Thursday and is hopeful to play on Sunday.

Texans:
  • OLB Brian Cushing continues to lead NFL rookies with 102 tackles. That's good enough to tie for fifth in the league. Cushing also leads the Texans with three interceptions.
  • DE Connor Barwin, a second-round pick who comes off the bench and plays the right side in passing situations, has 2.5 sacks, more than any rookie defensive lineman in the league.
  • FS Dominique Barber has returned to the lineup. John Busing replaced starter Eugene Wilson when he was lost for the season. Busing was terrible in the first half of Sunday's 23-18 loss to Jacksonville. Barber replaced him in the second half and played well.
  • RB Arian Foster, the undrafted rookie who has played special teams since being promoted from the practice squad, will play running back for the first time when the Texans host Seattle. When coach Gary Kubiak said this week that Foster would get some carries, he wasn't giving lip service. How many carries depends not only on how well he runs but how well he blocks.
  • DT Jeff Zgonina, 39, never misses a practice. When the coaches give veterans the second of two-a-day practices off, he refuses and continues to practice. This week, coach Gary Kubiak made Zgonina take off Wednesday just to rest. Zgonina argued but couldn't get his coach to change his mind. He was back on the practice field Thursday.

Inside The Camps

Seahawks: Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will have to pick his poison when the Seahawks' defense faces the Houston Texans on Sunday. Bradley's defense has played well of late, holding both the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers to just 17 points apiece, both victories for the Seahawks. But Bradley will have his hands full at Houston on Sunday. Even though the Texans have lost four straight, the offense has consistently moved the ball and put points on the board, averaging 23 points a contest, good enough for 13th overall in the league. Quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson make the Texans' explosive offense go. But Houston uses play action to set up the passing game, making the running game important. With Steve Slaton placed on injured reserve earlier this week, Chris Brown is expected to start ahead of backups Ryan Moats and Arian Foster , who will also get some time in the backfield. Bradley said it's important for the Seahawks to stop the run first before addressing Houston's passing game. "A lot of their scheme is built around the run, and then play pass off of it," Bradley said. "And when you watch film, he'll (Schaub) sit back there and he has a lot of time. And that's one of the big things for us. We've either got to get four-man pressure or bring that extra rusher." Seahawks head coach Jim Mora drafted Schuab while he was the head man in Atlanta, so Seattle has some familiarity with the Texans' quarterback, and a healthy dose of respect for what he can do on the field. "He is poised," Bradley said. "I know when we watched the Jacksonville game, he'll take a hit. ... He'll stand in there and take it for the team and make that throw." Texans: Under first-year coordinator Frank Bush, the Texans enter the Seattle game ranked 16th in defense, allowing 333.3 yards a game. They are 22nd against the run, surrendering 118.9 yards a game. They are 14th against the pass, giving up 214.3 yards a game. The defensive improvement over the last nine games has been remarkable. After a 1-2 start, the Texans were last in defense (436.7 yards) and last against the run (205). They were on a pace to allow more yards and more yards rushing than any defense in NFL history. Bush was getting blasted by fans and media who insisted he was in over his head. Bush preached patience. Coach Gary Kubiak supported Bush. That patience and support paid off. The defensive turnaround began in the fourth game. The Texans defeated Oakland, and the defense allowed 165 yards, including 45 rushing. It has been improving almost every week, other than the 20-17 loss the Titans, who rushed for 228 yards. Over their last nine games, the Texans have allowed 298.8 yards, including 90.2 rushing and 208.6 passing. In the second and third games of the season -- a victory at Tennessee and a home loss to Jacksonville -- the Texans allowed four long touchdown plays of 57, 91 and 69 yards to running back Chris Henry and 61 yards to running back Maurice Jones-Drew. If you subtract those four plays, the Texans would be allowing 310.1 yards rather than 333.3. Despite the improvement, there's one thing this defense can't do -- score touchdowns. They have one touchdown on a return by the defense. If the Texans are going to break their four-game losing streak against the Seahawks, the defense will have to play a significant role. PREDICTION: Texans 21-20

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