Houston Texans @

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sat, Dec 21
10:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 455
Odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3, Total: 50.5

Game Analysis

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Lean – TAMPA BAY (+3) over Houston

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both rank in the top 10 in yards per route run among wide receivers and both of them are out injured for Saturday’s game. Evans and Godwin combine to comprise 54% of Jameis Winston’s passing yards and our metrics suggest the cluster injury is worth 3.1 points, but we’re still seeing value on the Buccaneers. OJ Howard has disappointed this season but he gained 2.24 yards per route run in 2018 (3rd) and I expect him to be a large part of the game-plan against a Texans defense allowing 7.9 yards per target to opposing tight ends (25th). Also, Bruce Arians indicated he expects plenty of passes to running backs, which will be effective as Houston is conceding 7.3 yards per target to opposing running backs (27th). DJ Reader ranks 13th in pass rushing efficiency among interior defenders but he will line up across from left guard Ali Marpet, whose 95% pass block win rate ranks 9th. Jameis Winston played well with Evans and Godwin out in last week’s game and he will have time in the pocket with JJ Watt out for the 8th-consecutive week and Reader neutralized.

The Texans are a completely different offense with Will Fuller on the field. Deshaun Watson is averaging 7.5 yards per pass play in games Fuller is healthy compared to 5.9 yards per pass play when he is injured. Fuller ranks only behind Kenny Golladay with 2.3 deep-ball targets per game and his presence opens it up underneath for DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills. However, there’s reason to believe Houston’s wide receivers could struggle on Sunday against Tampa Bay’s improved secondary. Jamel Dean joined college teammate Carlton Davis at starting cornerback in the second half of the season and the pair have combined to allow a completion percentage of only 45.8% since week 10. Shaquil Barrett has a 25% pass rush win rate (4th) and is lining up mostly across from right tackles since Jason Pierre-Paul made his season debut after facing left tackles in the first half of the season. The Texans are missing starting right tackle Tytus Howard, which gives Barrett a nice opportunity of the edge. Houston’s 8th-rated ground game will be limited by a Buccaneers rush defense that ranks 6th best in the league.

Our model actually picks this game even after adjusting for the injuries with a predicted total of 49.3 points.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Texans
  • Buccaneers


  • Pass Plays 36.1 39.0
  • Succ Pass Plays 51.1% 47.3%
  • Sack Rate 7.8% 5.0%
  • Int Rate 2.5% 1.4%
  • Deep Pass Rate 19.4% 20.2%
  • Big Pass Yards 38.4% 39.0%
  • NYPP 7.0 7.0


  • Rush Plays 27.4 24.4
  • RB YPR 4.6 4.3
  • Stuff Rate 21.3% 18.2%
  • Succ Rush Plays 50.8% 43.6%
  • Big Rush Yards 47.6% 44.4%
  • Yards Per Rush 4.8 4.6


  • All Snaps 63.5 63.4
  • Early Down Succ 52.0% 45.6%
  • Succ Rate 50.3% 45.5%
  • Big Yards Rate 43.4% 42.6%
  • Yards Per Play 5.9 6.0
  • Fumble Lost Rate 0.8% 1.0%
  • Time Per Play (sec) 28.4 28.5
  • Run Ratio 42.9% 38.5%
  • Starting Field Pos 28.4 26.5
  • Game Control -1.1 1.1
  • Points 24.4 23.6
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