Houston Texans at N.Y. Jets
When: 4:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 15, 2018
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
A pair of lengthy losing streaks came to an end last week for both the Houston Texans and New York Jets, who have decidedly different goals heading into the final three games of the season. New York is trying to finish on a strong note after ending a six-game slide while Houston hopes to inch closer to a division title entering Saturday’s matchup at the Jets.
The Texans are sitting atop the AFC South and are in the running for the No. 2 overall seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs despite having a nine-game winning streak halted by visiting Indianapolis last week. Houston follows up Saturday’s matchup with a game at Philadelphia next weekend so its bracing to play in adverse conditions by practicing outdoors. “Our weather right now is not like it is in New York or Philly, but it’s not great here right now,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “So, I think that’s good. Then we’ll just do things during practice to kind of help show him what the elements might be like to the best of our ability.” Rookie Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, returned from a three-game absence to rally New York to a 27-23 victory at Buffalo last week.
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Texans -6. O/U: 41.5
ABOUT THE TEXANS (9-4): Houston’s defense was burned for 399 yards by Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck but it ranks fifth in scoring (19.9 points) and should have an easier time containing New York’s pedestrian passing attack. The Texans also are fifth against the run (88.2 yards) and likely will try to apply pressure on Darnold with edge pass rushers J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who have combined for 19.5 sacks. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been part of a ground game that averaged 146.1 yards during the winning streak, but running backs Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue were limited to 54 yards last week. Wideout DeAndre Hopkins had a season-low 36 yards last week but has 1,151 yards and nine TDs on the season.
ABOUT THE JETS (4-9): Darnold did not put up eye-popping numbers against the Bills, completing 16 of 24 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but he directed a winning scoring drive after Buffalo went ahead with 2 1/2 minutes to play. “As a kid, you dream of converting two-minute drives and going down there and scoring,” said Darnold, who was intercepted seven times in his previous three games before he was hurt. With Isaiah Crowell ailing and sitting out practice Thursday, Elijah McGuire is expected to get the start after rushing for 60 yards and the game-winning TD on Sunday. New York’s defense has struggled against the run, allowing an average of 132.0 yards rushing.
1. Watson has a 112.9 passer rating in his last seven games, throwing for 13 TDs against two interceptions.
2. McGuire had a season-high 83 yards from scrimmage last week.
3. Hopkins has a touchdown reception in his last five road games.