Texans vs. Buccaneers: Can the Texans eat a W?
Speaking of the aforementioned Tampa front seven, their production has seen a remarkable rise to first in the league against the run. The combination of former No. 2 overall pick and Nebraska stud Ndamukong Suh and last year’s first-round pick Vita Vea have skyrocketed the team’s defensive line, as together they have scored three touchdowns (and weigh 653 pounds).
One of the better linebackers in the league, Lavonte David, has set the pace with 11.5 tackles for loss and 106 overall. He will help mitigate the effectiveness of Hyde, Johnson, and TE Darren Fells on the inside.
Jason Pierre-Paul has also been a pleasant surprise for the team after coming back from a rash of injuries. With his signature explosiveness off the edge, he has singlehandedly changed the layout and tenacity of this defense.
However, you can’t talk about this Bucs defense without mentioning fringe DPOY candidate Shaquil Barrett, who has dominated O-lines to the tune of 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. If the Bucs are able to eradicate all semblance of a rushing attack, that would put significantly more pressure on Deshaun Watson to carve them up on his own.
However, this game will be won through the air in what should be an extremely entertaining shootout. Famous Jameis Winston will be operating with much less firepower than he has utilized all season, and even then he has thrown multiple interceptions in almost every game.
The Texans secondary stepped up in a big way last week, forcing Ryan Tannehill into one of his worst games since becoming the starter in Tennessee. The return of Bradley Roby has been a tremendous factor in terms of increased aggressiveness, and the midseason acquisitions of Gareon Conley and Hargreaves have given the team much-needed depth.