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Houston Texans vs Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks host the Houston Texans Sunday in what on paper seems to be a strength-on-strength matchup. The Seahawks at the moment have the league’s finest scoring protection, permitting 15.7 factors per sport, and the Texans proudly owning the league’s No. three scoring offense (29.5) after scoring at the very least 30 factors in 4 straight video games.Learn
Along with the big-picture, offense vs. protection battle, listed here are three key matchups that might make the distinction if the Seahawks are going to increase their successful streak to 4 video games and keep unbeaten at dwelling:Learn

1. Rookie Deshaun Watson vs. Seattle’s protection… and followers.

The final rookie quarterback to win a sport at CenturyLink Area was Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, who helped lead the Bengals to victory over Seattle halfway via the 2011 season. For somewhat perspective on how way back that was, contemplate that that sport was Richard Sherman’s first of 106 consecutive begins, postseason included. Apart from that sport, rookie QBs are Zero-7 in Seattle since Pete Carroll took over as Seattle’s head coach, each as a result of the Seahawks have been the most effective defensive groups in soccer for many of that point, and in addition as a result of CenturyLink Area represents certainly one of soccer’s most hostile environments.Learn
Each offense’s objective is to go on a roll and attempt to shut the gang out and quiet them,” Watson informed reporters in Houston this week. “However it’s going to be a troublesome activity, and we perceive that. We respect the Seattle setting and their protection. We’ve simply bought to go up there and give attention to our job and take a look at to do this.”Learn
Watson performed effectively in loads of huge video games and hostile environments throughout his profession at Clemson, however he and his crew know dealing with a loaded Seahawks protection presents a wholly completely different problem, no matter venue.Learn
“It’s exhausting,” Texans coach Invoice O’Brien informed reporters when requested about dealing with Seattle’s protection. “It’s actually exhausting. It’s all three ranges. There’s actually no weak spot to their protection. It’s (Michael) Bennett, it’s (Frank) Clark up entrance. Now they only signed (Dwight) Freeney, after which you have got the second stage the place you have got Bobby Wagner within the center after which clearly within the secondary with (Kam) Chancellor and Earl (Thomas) and Richard Sherman. I imply, these guys are enjoying at a excessive stage and it’s going to be exhausting. I do know this sounds cliché, however it’s not—it’s one play at a time. It’s focusing in your job, attempting to eradicate distractions and simply preserve it easy. Hold it easy in your thoughts and attempt to play quick and play good and that’s what we've got to do. We have now to attempt to string performs collectively, which is tough to do towards their protection however that’s what we've got to do.”Learn
However whereas Watson and the Texans have their arms full, he seems to be as well-equipped as any rookie will be to tackle a loaded protection in a troublesome venue. Since taking up the beginning job, Watson has a 101.1 passer score and has thrown 15 landing passes with 5 interceptions. He’s additionally a working menace, having scored twice on the bottom and averaging 7.2 yards per carry.Learn
“It doesn’t take lengthy to see how versatile he's, the dynamic participant that he's,” Carroll mentioned. “He’s dashing for over 7 yards a carry. His effectivity’s rated 100 and one thing, , 15 and 5 with touchdowns and picks, and he’s doing nice. There’s nothing he can’t do. He’s doing all of it and he’s making marvelous throws and these tight-window throws. All throughout the board from the highest down, he can do all of it, so that they’ve bought to be simply thrilled they've him.”Learn
And it’s not simply Watson’s bodily abilities which have impressed the Seahawks.Learn
“He appears to be like actually good,” linebacker Bobby Wagner mentioned. “The most important factor that stands out to me is his composure. If he will get sacked it doesn’t have an effect on him… His composure is what stands out to me probably the most.”

2. Doug Baldwin vs. Houston’s cross protection, particularly on third down.

Six video games into the season, Doug Baldwin is what he has been for many of his profession, certainly one of Seattle’s finest and most dependable offensive weapons. Coming off a nine-catch, 92-yard sport with a landing, Baldwin confirmed once more final week, and notably on third downs, how huge of an element he will be in sport. Baldwin can be an enormous motive why the Seahawks, for all their offensive inconsistencies, have been one of many league’s higher third-down groups, changing 43.three % of their third-down possibilities, which ranks eighth within the league. Over the previous three video games, the Seahawks are second finest within the NFL on third down at 53.three %.Learn
“I don’t assume anyone can cowl him,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilsonmentioned of Baldwin. “He’s so quick, he’s so fast, he’s explosive, he can get down the sphere, there’s a whole lot of issues that he can do. I believe that he’s a competitor; third-down is about competing and discovering a option to make a play, and that’s often the case. Doug is a man that you simply depend on, you can belief, and he’s going to do it proper, and he’s going to get open quick and he’s going to make a play.”Learn
The Texans, in the meantime, are sturdy throughout the board on protection, even minus two of their finest defensive gamers, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. And on third down, the Texans are permitting groups to transform solely 34.6 % of their possibilities, which ranks eighth within the league. Houston can be anticipating to get cornerback Kevin Johnson, a former first-round decide, again after a four-game harm absence, making their cross protection even higher.

3. Houston’s red-zone threats vs. Seattle’s cross protection.

One of many huge the reason why the Seahawks have the league’s high scoring defenses is that they’ve allowed touchdowns on solely 28.6 % of opponents’ pink zone possessions, one of the best mark within the league. Conversely, the Texans are one of many NFL’s highest scoring groups as a result of they’re scoring touchdowns on 65 % of pink zone journeys, which ranks fourth within the NFL and first within the AFC.Learn
Along with Watson’s sturdy total play, one of many largest causes for Houston’s pink zone success has been the play of receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V, who've mixed for 11 landing receptions. Hopkins is Watson’s high goal with 37 catches for 382 yards and 6 touchdowns. Accidents have restricted Fuller to 3 video games and he has simply eight catches this season, however the speedy 2016 first-round decide has scored 5 touchdowns on these eight catches and is averaging 19.three yards per reception.Learn
“DeAndre has nice arms, he’s sturdy on the level of assault,” Sherman mentioned. “Will Fuller has super pace, and the quarterback has a large enough arm to get the ball to him, so that you’ve at all times bought to pay attention to the place he's. DeAndre’s a bigtime third-down menace, particularly on the again aspect, single receiver aspect, they’re going to look to get him the ball.”
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