Texans, Buccaneers Meet with Division Title at Stakeby Celeste Sabin December 21, 2019 0 comments
The Houston Texans travel to Tampa Bay, Fla., to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 in Week 16. The Texans lead the all-time series 3-1, winning the last three in a row, although Tampa Bay is slightly favored to win the match up with a 54 percent win probability. The Texans come into this week 9-5 on the season and Tampa Bay enters with a .500 record of 7-7. For the Texans, staying atop the AFC South standings is at stake while the Buccaneers, second in the NFC South but several games behind New Orleans, are hoping for a winning record after this week.
Houston Texans Notables
Houston enters Week 16 following a victory over Tennessee last week and has posted an average of 375.9 offensive and 379.4 defensive yards so far this season. Deshaun Watson has completed 314 of 463 passes for 3668 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions for a rating of 100.4. Carlos Hyde leads the team with 224 carries for 1,030 yards and five touchdowns while DeAndre Hopkins has posted 99 receptions for 1,142 yards and seven touchdowns. Whitney Mercilus leads the Texans with five-and-a-half sacks and Tashaun Gipson leads with three interceptions. Ka’imi Fairbairn has kicked 36 of 41 extra points and successfully kicked 17 of 22 field goals.
What to watch for
Watson joined Hall of Famer Steve Young as the only quarterbacks in the NFL history to post 25 or more passing touchdowns and five or more rushing touchdowns in multiple seasons. This will be Watson’s first time back at Raymond James Stadium since leading Clemson to a National Championship in 2017.
Hyde leads the teams in rushing yards and is in his first 1,000-yard season while Duke Johnson has ranked second among running backs in receiving yards since 2015. Hopkins needs one catch in this game to join Andre Johnson as the only players in franchise history to record 100 or more catches in consecutive seasons
The trio of tight ends that have played an important part in Houston’s success features Darren Fells, Jordan Akins, and Jordan Thompson, who are able to each go out on the field and offer something different to strengthen the offensive line and will be an important factor this week, as well.
Mercilus posted an interception last week against the Titans and looks to add to his total sacks, keeping the team lead. Linebacker Zach Cunningham will be going for his third game in a row with 14 or more tackles.
Houston can clinch the AFC South Championship for the fourth time in five years with a victory over the Buccaneers and even though there are other ways the team can clinch the lead; they are aiming to do so with the victory.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Notables
Tampa Bay is also coming into this week following a victory in Week 15 over the Detroit Lions and has won the last four games in a row. Jameis Winston leads the league with 24 interceptions and has completed 342 of 554 passes for 4,573 yards and 30 touchdowns for an 87.9 rating. Ronald Jones leads the teams in carries with 147 for 541 yards and five touchdowns while Breshad Perriman has recorded 24 receptions for 490 yards and five touchdowns, as well. Shaquil Barrett leads the team with an impressive 16-and-a-half sacks and rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting has the team-high three interceptions. Rookie Matt Gay has kicked 39 of 44 extra points and successfully put 25 of 29 field goal kicks through the posts.
What to watch for
In Week 15, Winston became the first quarterback in league history to record 450 or more yards in consecutive games and is the third quarterback, joining Drew Brees and Peyton Manning with at least five games of 375 or more pass yards in a single season, aiming for his sixth this week.
Barrett, with his team-high number of sacks, also leads the league in sacks and is tied with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp for the most sacks by a Tampa Bay player in a single season since 1982.
Murphy-Bunting recorded his first career touchdown last week on a 70-yard interception, posting his third for the season and leading the team in his rookie year.
Devin White is one of three linebackers with 75 or more tackles, three or more forced fumbles and two or more sacks this year, joining De’Vondre Campbell and Fred Warner.
As of Thursday evening, both teams have many players on the injury report as questionable, and Houston lists Jacob Martin and Bernardrick McKinney out and Tampa Bay has Beau Allen out on their list.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Where: Raymond James Stadium | Tampa, Fla.
TV: NFL Network
"I strive to be the best at everything I do."
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) December 20, 2019
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 19, 2019