Houston had Week 7 off, giving them a chance to adjust a few things and redesign some pressure packages due to their defensive injuries. There was a boost though, as Duane Brown returned to the team following his lengthy holdout.
Seattle went to New York in Week 7 and hammered the Giants. The defense was its usual brilliant self, but the offense picked it up a gear, with Russell Wilson throwing bombs down field as he evaded pass rushers. They put up 425 yards of offense to New York’s 177, it was a dominant showing.
The big stage
Deshaun Watson has played in big games in front of big crowds, but this is his first big away game in the pros. There is nothing like a trip to Seattle as a quarterback, the crowd noise envelops you and the defense hammers you. Houston’s rookie has been impressive so far this season, but this game will be a real test for him.
Can someone run the ball?
Houston are one of the more successful rushing teams this year, with 4.4 yards per carry, however, a big chunk of that is thanks to Deshaun Watson. Lamar Miller is managing just 3.8 yards a pop, with D’Onta Foreman going at 4.1. Given the 50-50 balance they have on offense so far that is not good, and only Watson’s scrambles are making the stats look good.
Meanwhile Seattle’s running game is sputtering as well. Eddie Lacy is going at 3.0, Thomas Rawls is on 2.5… Only JD McKissic has looked good, but that’s in very limited time.
If someone can get a running game going on Sunday they will have a big advantage.
Seattle feasted down field against the Giants, and so far Watson has loved throwing bombs to Will Fuller. However, both these defenses do not allow big plays regularly at all. If Watson can’t make shock plays down the field is he going to be able to put points on the board? If Seattle can’t hurl it down field can they sustain a drive? Whoever can break through the tough defenses and make chunk plays will have a big advantage.
Matchup to Watch: Jadeveon Clowney vs Russell Wilson
Seattle’s offensive line is not good, and as a result Wilson’s feet have had to be. He is well practiced in spinning out of pressure after his line has failed. It’s not, then, if Clowney can defeat the blocks to pressure Wilson, but if he can adjust his angles to pin Wilson down and not allow him to get into the second and third phase of the play. When he scrambles Wilson is a nightmare, when in the pocket he is at least controllable.
Fantasy Tip: Both D/ST
DeAndre Hopkins against Richard Sherman? No thanks. Jimmy Graham? Not really… This game is full of tough draws for offensive players, which makes the defensive units very interesting plays.
Betting Tip: Texans (+5.5)
These are two good but unbalanced and inconsistent teams. While Seattle’s home field advantage is usually strong, Houston’s resiliency and ability to feast on poor offensive lines could keep them in the game. Take the points.
Prediction: Seahawks 20-17 Texans
This feels like a kicking fest with one or two trips to the endzone per team. Both offenses are not consistent enough to really threaten on every drive. I expect Seattle to come out on top, but a victory from Houston wouldn’t surprise me.
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