Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was officially listed as limited in practice Wednesday with a chest injury that he suffered during last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he said he “for sure” will play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills,
“Just another day in the office; just recovering from the game, and got to get ready for Buffalo,” Watson told reporters. “It’s part of the game, and I was able to take some shots and just regroup and keep moving forward.”
That gives the Texans a great chance to win their third game of the season in Week 6.
Houston Texans, 63 percent win probability
Watson isn’t flashing the MVP form we saw in 2017, but he’s still completing more than 65 percent of his passes for 1,621 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. According to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, that should be good enough to win 10 games during a 16-game season (63.0 QBR). Plus, he has numerous talented receivers to throw to.
Wideout DeAndre Hopkins, the team leader in targets (57), has caught 39 passes for 594 yards and two touchdowns, earning 2.5 yards per route run, fifth-most among wide receivers in the league. Will Fuller V has caught 19 of 28 targets for 278 yards and three touchdowns, resulting in a near-perfect 151.3 passer rating for Watson on these throws. Keke Coutee rounds out the trio with 13 catches (out of 15 targets) for 128 yards and a touchdown out of the slot. Add in the other receivers, and the Texans are producing 1.9 yards per route run, fourth-most in the NFL.
To be fair, Buffalo has a strong secondary that can slow Houston’s passing game — Football Outsiders lists the Bills' pass defense at No. 7 this year — but the third wide receiver has given the Buffalo defense trouble. The Bills rank seventh and fourth against a team’s No. 1 and No. 2 option, respectively, but they fall to No. 25 against all other pass-catchers. And Buffalo’s pass-rushing unit looks fearsome on paper but, after adjusting for opponent, its adjusted sack rate drops to 17th.
Houston’s defensive front, on the other hand, has one-man wrecking crew J.J. Watt fueling the sixth-highest adjusted sack rate (8.2 percent). The four-time Pro Bowl defensive end has a league-leading six sacks to go with six hits and 10 hurries, making him the season’s sixth-best edge rusher per the game charters at Pro Football Focus.
That’s about the worse-case scenario for Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen, whose passer rating plummets from 90.1 to 6.7 (no, that’s not a typo) under pressure. For context, a quarterback gets a 39.6 passer rating for an incomplete pass.
And the league’s starting to make Allen work in the pocket. He has been pressured on 41 percent of his throws, third-most behind Watson and Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, with a mere 38 percent accuracy rate in those situations after accounting for dropped passes, throwaways, spiked balls, batted throws and passes when he was hit while he threw. Cam Newton has the second-worst accuracy under pressure at 50 percent.
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