Stretching the field is a goal for Thomas Brown's group in Week 9. They found the endzone once against the Carolina Panthers last week. It was not enough to secure a victory. C.J. Stroud performed below expectations for the first time in his career. He hopes to connect with his receivers more often against a struggling defense.
Tank Dell returned from injury in Week 8 but failed to make a difference. DeMeco Ryans and the Houston Texans will rely on him to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Houston Texans: C.J Stroud is hungry for redemption in Week 8
An impressive start to his rookie campaign is earning C.J. Stroud extra attention. Nick Caserio's front office invested the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for the Ohio State Buckeye. Inexperience and unfamiliar territory have not hindered the young gunslinger's success. He's earned respect among his peers by defeating noteworthy defenses early in the campaign. Connections with his receiving core are helping Houston's franchise player develop.
An increase in productivity is helping one of Houston's wideouts become a household name. Nico Collins is an X-Factor in Thomas Brown's scheme. He's made the most of his opportunities. The former third-round pick ranks 10th in receiving grade (86.1) and 12th in receiving yards (577). Collins is tied for first in touchdowns (3) among C.J. Stroud's targets. Todd Bowles' secondary will have eyes on him Sunday afternoon. His presence will allow Tank Dell to experience a career day.
Houston Texans: Tank Dell must take advantage of suspect Buccaneers secondary
Injuries hindered Houston's 2023 third-round pick during the first half of the season. He's persevered through a rough NFL welcome and is prepared to display his talents. An explosive performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars put Tank Dell on the map. He recorded 145 receiving yards and a touchdown reception against a stingy secondary (90.6). Creating separation from incoming defenders makes Dell one of Stroud's favorite weapons. He ranks second in yards per catch (15.5) among his peers.
Thomas Brown will incorporate his rookie receiver in Sunday afternoon's game plan. Nico Collins is Houston's primary receiver and will receive the brunt of the defenses attention. Speed, agility, and quickness will give Dell an advantage against Tampa Bay's defensive backs. They rank 18th in coverage (65.9) halfway through the season.
A win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will help DeMeco Ryans' team prepare to compete for a post-season berth. They are performing well but have room for improvement. Consecutive losses will kill the momentum developed earlier in the season.
All statistics courtesy of pff.com.