On Sunday it will be a matchup against two 6-3 teams still fighting to make the playoffs. For Houston, it seems they are now favorites to win their division as Jacksonville decided to jump off a bridge, Indianapolis can’t figure it out. Tennessee seems like the team that can sneak up on Houston but it probably won’t happen.
Same can be said for Washington though as no one is favoring them through 10 weeks of football. It’s expected, the Redskins haven’t really been good since the RGIII era. But, you don’t have to look back to far and see a winning record for the Skins. It happened in 2015, the Skins finished 9-7 and before that they finished 10-6 in 2012. They made it to the NFC Wildcard in both seasons, but, the end result was a loss.
So, this brings us to Sunday. A matchup against a streaking hot Houston squad against a Redskins team who wins ugly but gets the job done. It doesn’t matter how either team wins, as long as they win, right?
Five Things To Know — Q&A with FPC Texans’ writer/managing editor, Max Freedman
JW: What advantages do the Texans defenders have over the Redskins offense and what advantages do the Redskins defenders have over the Texans offense?
Max: “The advantages and disadvantages of the Texans’ offense against Redskins’ defense seems pretty clear cut. The Redskins have cornerback Quinton Dunbar and safety Montae Nicholson on the injury report, and it’s yet to be decided whether they will play this weekend. On the other hand, Josh Norman has looked like an All-Pro cornerback again over the past few weeks. The Texans’ passing game should have the upper hand with Thomas possibly working against Moreau. It won’t come easy, but it seems advantageous in Houston’s favor. Otherwise, the running game is a huge advantage for the Redskins’ defense.
Washington boats one of the best run stopping fronts in the NFL and the offensive line simply isn’t good enough to open running holes consistently. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when Houston is throwing the ball on a large majority of downs in the second half.“
JW: J.J. Watt is the X-Factor the Texans defensively, he’s hard to stop but, do the Skins need to stop him in order to win?
Max: “In week three against the Giants, J.J. Watt finished with three sacks in the loss. Watt has played as much a role in the six game win streak as anyone else on this team, but stopping him isn’t an absolute must for the Redskins. Watt is dominant, and he wins so many reps that stopping him can not necessarily be expected. The Redskins don’t need to stop Watt completely, proven by the Giants. Against the Texans’ secondary though, the longer the receivers have to work their routes, the better the chances of offensive success, so the Redskins should prioritize stopping Watt.”
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JW: DeSean Watson is recovering from his ACL from last season, hows his mobility this season and will that be a factor on Sunday?
Max: “Watson’s mobility looked about where it was last year in the early parts of the season. He did suffer a rib injury, presumably against the Bills. The next week he bussed to Jacksonville rather than flying with the team in order to nurture his injury. Since then his mobility in the pocket has looked up to par, maneuvering around sacks and preventing sacks. He definitely has not been running the past few games as much as he did last year, or early this year, and when he does he is more cautious about sliding.
Ultimately, Watson’s mobility looks much the same, and his running ability had been slightly hampered by the rib injury. Now, coming off the bye week, it’s possible that Watson has healed and will look the same once again.“
JW: This a revenge tour for DJ Swearinger, what is the chatter for the Texans preparing for Swearinger?
Max: “The Texans haven’t been too vocal about their relationship with Swearinger. Hopkins has stated that he plans to talk trash, but it seemed competitively playful as the two battled it out at rival schools in Clemson and South Carolina. Otherwise, Watt and Watson have both given high praise to the former Texan. Watson made mention of his four interceptions, which are second most in the league. The Texans have had two weeks to watch tape on the Redskins. They know that Swearinger is a much improved player that could cause problems for them in the secondary.”
By all accounts, D.J. Swearinger has matured and made major strides as a player. When he was a Texan, though, NFL source characterized him as extremely difficult to deal with and not a very good player or teammate. Opinions on him run the gamut, but playing at Pro Bowl level now
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 15, 2018
JW: Three Keys to this game will be what?
Max: “Jumping out to an early lead. Establishing the run game early to open up the passing lanes.Pass rush production.”
JW: Score prediction?
Max: Texans win this one, 24-21.