The NFL's Saturday Football Previews


Photo Courtesy of Pat Pryor

Houston Texans (9-4) vs. New York Jets (4-9)


Preview

Two teams with inverse records and very different stories face off in MetLife stadium this weekend. The Texans are trying to get back on the winning track after dropping a tough one to the Colts this past weekend. Before their divisional loss, the Texans ripped off 9 straight wins and looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. Led by their stout defense, this team has cemented themselves as a top team in the AFC. The Jets are coming off a comeback win against their divisional rival Bills that halted a six game losing streak, but have not looked great all season. The offense has looked like one of the worst in the league, and their defense is not that much better. Can they finally turn the corner after a solid showing by their rookie quarterback and take down the dynamic Texans?


Players to watch

Deshaun Watson has done a much better job at minimizing his mistakes as of late, and has not been picked off once in his last three games. He can partly attribute this to better decision making and a career resurgence by Lamar Miller on the ground. It also helps when you have the best in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, so watch out Trumaine Johnson. Sam Darnold has his work cut out for him in this one. He faces both J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who plan on wreaking havoc all game long. It would be great for Darnold if Elijah McGuire and company could take some of the load off of him via the running game, but Zach Cunningham and Bernard McKinney lead the league’s 5th best rushing defense and will stop the Green in their tracks.


Keys to the game

Houston Texans

Control the ball

Pressure Darnold

Limit turnovers

Keep Watson upright


New York Jets

Protect Darnold

Control the game by running

Attack Watson

Get the return game going


Injury list

Houston Texans

Keke Coutee, WR - Hamstring (Out)

Zach Fulton, G/C - Hand (Questionable)

Andre Hal, S - Ankle (Questionable)


New York Jets

Isaiah Crowell, RB - Toe (IR)

Quincy Enunwa, WR - Ankle (Out)

Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB - Concussion (Out)

Jordan Jenkins, OLB - Shoulder/Ankle (Questionable)

Trumaine Johnson, CB - Foot (Questionable)

Eli McGuire, RB - Ankle (Questionable)

Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB - Shoulder (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Deshaun Watson, QB, (HOU)

Lamar Miller, RB, (HOU)

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, (HOU)

Sam Darnold, QB, (NYJ)

Demaryius Thomas, WR, (HOU)


Prediction

This should be an easy one for the Texans, even on the road. The Jets offense is just not good enough to match up with such a stout Houston defense. The combination of Watt, Mathieu, Mercilus, Clowney, and many more will be too much for the young USC product and he will struggle. Watson himself is hitting his stride again and is slowly regaining the composure we saw him exhibit in his rookie season. The Texans are just a better team overall from top to bottom, and the Jets might be one of the worst in the league from a talent perspective. This should be an easy one for Houston.


Final Score: Texans 31, Jets 17


Written by: George Haraktsis


Cleveland Browns (5-7-1) vs. Denver Broncos (6-7)


Preview

This Saturday afternoon game will be an interesting one to watch. Both of these teams still have a little life left in the playoff hunt but have to win this game. The Browns have to win out to have any chance and the Broncos are in an almost identical situation. Cleveland has been winning games lately, but I wouldn’t count out the home field advantage in Denver. Either way, this should be a fun game to watch.


Players to watch

Undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay has been outstanding this season for the Broncos as he is currently fourth in the NFL in rushing with 947 yards. This week, he will be matched up with a terrible Browns run defense which ranks 28th in the league allowing 133.3 yards per game. The Browns will be relying on rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield to find go-to target Jarvis Landry early and often in this one.


Keys to the game

Cleveland Browns

Protect Baker

Stop the run

Create turnovers


Denver Broncos

Get Lindsay going early

Put pressure on Baker

Limit turnovers


Injury list

Cleveland Browns

Austin Corbett, OT - Foot (Out)

Denzel Ward, CB - Concussion (Out)

Larry Ogunjobi, DT - Knee (Questionable)

J.C. Tretter, C - Ankle (Questionable)

Phillip Gaines, CB - Knee (Questionable)


Denver Broncos

Shaquil Barrett, OLB - Hip (Out)

Chris Harris Jr., CB - Fibula (Out)

Isaac Yiadom, CB - Shoulder (Out)

Derek Wolfe, DE - Concussion (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Phillip Lindsay, RB (DEN)

Jarvis Landry, WR (CLE)

Courtland Sutton, WR (DEN)

Baker Mayfield, QB

Nick Chubb, RB (CLE)


Prediction

I strongly believe that this will be a very close game until the end. The Browns will struggle to shut down Lindsay in the run game but Baker Mayfield will make up for it on offense. He will make some huge plays to keep them in the game but it won’t be enough. This one will come down to a game-winning field goal by the Broncos who will keep their postseason hopes alive with the win.


Final Score: Broncos 24, Browns 21


Written by: Ryan Lippert

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