2. The HCs on the QBs
Darnold, after scoring the comeback verdict over fellow rookie Josh Allen, now gets to duel with a second-year QB in Watson .The Jets have never run into Deshaun as a Texan but his reputation precedes him: He’s 12-7 as a starter, has a 101.6 passer rating, and is averaging 6.2 yards/carry in his two pro seasons. Bowles: “He can beat you in the pocket and out of the pocket. He’s a gamer.” Houston HC Bill O’Brien had similar sentiments about Sam Darnold, specifically about his poise, arm, intelligence and extension of plays. Said OB: “The young quarterbacks in our league right now, it’s really an exciting time, and Sam’s a part of that.”
3. Downfield Opportunity?
Darnold has to stay out of the clutches of DEs J.J. Watt (12.5 sacks, 22 QB hits, five forced fumbles) and Jadeveon Clowney (seven sacks, 15 QB hits). But as Sam said this week, he’ll have “no flinch about it” as he tries to find his receivers. Returning to the fore is WR Robby Anderson, who had receptions of 25 and 37 yards vs. the Bills after going without a 20-plus catch for five games. WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) is out but WR Jermaine Kearse and TE Chris Herndon have been low-key recently and could benefit from Robby’s reemergence. This is important because the Texans have yielded 1,043 net passing yards in their last three games, most in the NFL, with all three games at their home.
4. Threatening Threesome
Watson can be dangerous but he’s still only a video image for most Jets until Saturday. But several defenders know first-hand of Hopkins, who had five catches for 118 yards and two TDs against the Jets at Houston in 2015. D-Hop, as S Jamal Adams calls him, has 84 catches for 1,151 yards and nine TDs and is closing in on a career year. And RB Lamar Miller is the only player in NFL history with two runs of at least 97 yards. One came three weeks ago against the Titans, the other four years ago as a Dolphin vs. the Jets. Miller, teamed with Alfred Blue and Watson, form the NFL’s No. 3 rushing offense at 136.8 yards/game.