The Houston Texans face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday on the NFL Network.
The Houston Texans offense is as healthy as it’s been all year, excluding rookie right tackle Tytus Howard. Laremy Tunsil is back in action, fresh off of a Pro Bowl nod, high-flying receivers Will Fuller and Kenny Stills are ready to work magic together, and Deshaun Watson is significantly less battered than he was a year ago.
The team as a whole has disappeared almost every third week this year (loss-win-win has been the trend all season), but the offense has been firing on all cylinders.
Watson looks like a Top 5 quarterback and has grown tremendously over the course of the past three years. His 33 touchdowns accounted for are only rivaled by MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson, and both his 3,668 passing yards and 68.9 QBR are seventh overall.
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Having a 1,000-yard rusher — Carlos Hyde — on the team for the first time since 2016 has paid dividends and keeps defenses honest. Additionally, having a second pass-catching RB in Duke Johnson completely alters the way that linebackers cover the middle of the field, opening up deeper passing lanes downfield.
Even playing teams with one or two solid staples in the secondary, the threat of four or five separate weapons all over the field is a matchup nightmare.
In regards to this upcoming matchup, the Bucs severely lack bodies that are capable of slowing down the three head monster of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills. Their secondary ranks 30th in the league against the pass, though they have technically performed better since cutting Vernon Hargreaves III.
The former Buccaneer and current Texan never found his footing in Tampa, yet he has become a welcome addition to a cornerback group disparaged by injuries, featuring players like Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, the Bucs must rely on their stalwart rush defense to stay competitive.
Here is a look at the Buccaneers and the Texans for Saturday.