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Three And Out: Useless Predictions For Texans-Buccaneers

I know you're dying--DYING--to read one more prediction article about Sunday's game between the Texans and Buccaneers. Luckily for you, this post exists for your pleasure on Battle Red Blog.

One of the very rare offensive highlights thus far.
One of the very rare offensive highlights thus far.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A wiser lesser man would probably take a look at his last two weeks' worth of predictions (here and here) and say to himself, "Maybe sit the next couple of plays out."

An individual with a modicum of self-awareness would look at his entire catalog of abysmal predictions over the years and throw his crystal ball (it's really just an empty Paddy's bottle with the label ripped off) in the trash can.

Let no one call me wise, lesser, and/or self-aware. Failure after failure after failure simply means you're due for success at some point. That old chestnut doesn't apply only to the Texans' evaluation of quarterbacks; it applies to my predictions, too. The worm must turn eventually.

Two "Anchorman" clips in a single post? That's right. I am trying to distract you from how bad I am at this mean business. No more chit-chat. On to the three things that are sure to happen when the Texans host the Buccaneers at NRG Stadium on Sunday...

1. With Duane Brown declared out and DeAndre Hopkins still iffy (though probable as I type this) on Sunday, Ryan Mallett is in for a sizable challenge. The Texans' running game is horrendous without Arian Foster, and there's no reason to think that will change against the Bucs, especially with the potential of an even more muddled offensive line than what the Texans trotted out there against Carolina.

If the Texans are going to move the ball with any consistency, it should come via quick, short passes like they used to open the second half against the Panthers. That's not Mallett's strong suit, but I don't see another realistic way to regularly advance the ball with the personnel shortcomings this team is likely to have. To that end, expect Cecil Shorts III and Garrett Graham to dominate the targets in the passing game. I do expect Nate Washington to get loose for one long pass on the afternoon, though that will be the exception and not the rule, Mallett's cannon notwithstanding.

2. The good news for the Texans, and the reason they have a chance in this game, is due to their defense playing a rookie quarterback who's starting his second road game in the NFL. Romeo Crennel should have a scheme in place to frustrate Jameis Winston, and I expect Winston to see things on Sunday that he's never seen before.  I'm not just talking about the prospect of Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt in his peripheral vision, either. After experiencing success last week, I foresee Winston crashing back to earth this week. He will find Mike Evans for a long touchdown, but Winston will also turn the ball over three times (2 INTs and 1 fumble). One of those turnovers will result in a Texans' defensive touchdown.

3. Randy Bullock is going to miss a field goal. But not an extra point again, so that's progress.

PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: It's gonna be ugly. Real ugly. The thought of watching Houston's offense with another patchwork offensive line, without Arian Foster, and possibly without DeAndre Hopkins is enough to make me consider knitting during each of the Texans' offensive series. The defense, however, should remind us this week of what they can (and should/must) be. The Texans will win the turnover battle, and that will be enough to allow them to squeak by at home and avoid an 0-3 start. Texans 16, Buccaneers 14.

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