UNION-TRIBUNE October 24, 2007 Chargers' next opponent Houston Texans (3-4)1:05 p.m. Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium (tentative) After winning their first two games, the Texans have dropped four of their past five, with the only victory in that span coming against hapless Miami. Three of the losses came against the other teams in the AFC South, arguably football's toughest division. Houston debuted this season with seven new offensive starters, including quarterback Matt Schaub, who has played relatively well in his first season as a starter. But Schaub left Sunday's game with Tennessee early with a sore back, hip, leg and thigh. He is considered somewhere between probable and questionable for this game. His backup, Sage Rosenfels, passed for 249 yards and four TDs in the fourth quarter alone last week, but also committed four turnovers. The Texans have problems running the ball and stopping the run, two things the Chargers do well. Houston ranks eighth in scoring offense, due primarily to the league's No. 5 pass offense. But the Texans are 31st in yards rushing and 32nd in yards per carry. Defensively, Houston ranks in the bottom half of the league in most categories, including 27th in yards per carry and 24th in points allowed. – JAY POSNER Three players to watch Matt Schaub: Obviously not healthy, but surely he'll try to play if possible, if for no other reason than to get his shot at San Diego's secondary. Schaub has completed 68.5 percent of his passes and averaged 8.0 yards per attempt, but he did not handle pressure particularly well last week against Tennessee. Kevin Walter: Whether Schaub or Sage Rosenfels plays quarterback, he'll be looking for Walter, who leads the team with 33 catches and 435 yards, including 29 and 401 in the past four games. The starter on the other side, Andre Davis, leads the NFL with a 19.2-yard average per catch. Mario Williams: The second-year defensive end will forever be known as the player the Texans picked instead of Reggie Bush or Vince Young. Playing with a foot injury for the second half of last year, he finished with 4.5 sacks. This year he has 3.0, one fewer than rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. Familiar faces Three Texans played at San Diego State – safety Will Demps, guard Chester Pitts and tackle Ephraim Salaam. Pitts is the only player to start every game (87) in Texans history. Texans cornerback Jamar Fletcher spent two seasons (2004-05) with the Chargers. Assistant secondary coach Martin Bayless played for the Chargers (1987-91) and coached at Castle Park High. Injury report In addition to Schaub, the Texans have other injuries. Wide receiver Andre Johnson (knee), the NFL reception leader a year ago, is expected to miss his sixth straight game. Guard Kasey Studdard (groin) also is not expected to play. Last meeting In the 2004 season opener, LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 121 yards and Antonio Gates caught eight passes for 123 yards as the visiting Chargers rallied for a 27-20 victory. The teams were even statistically, but the Chargers forced four turnovers, including a fumble as Houston was driving for a potential tying touchdown. Series history The Chargers and Texans have played just twice, with San Diego winning both games. In addition to the 2004 game, the clubs also met in San Diego in 2002. The Chargers held Houston to 118 yards and won 24-3 in what marked the Texans' first-ever road game. Did you know? Houston's Gary Kubiak has never faced the Chargers as a head coach, but he has more familiarity with San Diego than most coaches. Since Kubiak became an assistant coach in 1994, he has faced the Chargers twice every season with San Francisco (1994) and Denver (1995-2005). His teams won 18 of those 24 games, including Super Bowl XXIX. Did you hear? “It's a tough, tough challenge for us because when you're not running it, you want to do everything you can to win the football game so you end up throwing the heck out of the ball. We need to find a way to get back to running the ball and hopefully find a way for it to get better. It's not going to get any easier, not this week.” – Houston coach Gary Kubiak Key stat Tennessee had little trouble moving the ball against Houston, but in nine opportunities inside the 20-yard line, the Titans had just two touchdowns. Six of Robbie Bironas' record eight field goals came from 30 yards or closer. For the season, Houston has allowed 16 TDs and 24 field goals.