New York Jets at Houston Texans: The Story Lines

The New York Jets are coming off a ten day rest as they travel to Houston to face the banged up Houston Texans. Todd Bowles squad will get a break with Calvin Pryor, Bilal Powell, and Quincy Enunwa all returning from lengthy absences. TJ Yates will start under center on Sunday, and I would expect the Jets to get after him early and often. Although this is a must win game for the New York Jets, there are many interesting story lines leading into Sunday’s showdown…

The Obvious


DeAndre Hopkins vs. Darrelle Revis: This is a matchup that features two of the NFL’s best at their respective positions. Hopkins has thrust himself into the discussion of being a top three NFL receiver. Meanwhile, Revis can be counted on to consistently wipe out the opposing teams number 1 receiving threat. Both players enter this crucial matchup on the injury report. Revis with a hip (limited) and Hopkins with a knee (DNP Wednesday). Injuries or not these two will battle it out full speed on Sunday. The one concern for Revis though is his struggles (MINOR) against speedy receivers. He has been lock down as always, but has been playing off the ball more often then in the past.  This is the first time these two have played against each other.

The Terrifying


JJ Watt vs. Breno Giacomini and Jets OL: Going into training camp, everyone was worried about the Offensive Line and the lack of depth at the position. Through the first 5 games, the Jets line play muted our concerns. Lately though, it’s been bad. JJ Watt comes into this matchup having a relatively quiet season compared to his monster showing last year. He still has totaled 9.5 sacks through nine games and looked like a matchup nightmare last Monday night. On Sunday afternoon he’ll be mostly lined up against the Jets RT Breno Giacomini, and the right side of the offensive line (although he moves all over). The OL as a unit haven’t allowed many sacks this year (10), but recently the unit has struggled to protect Fitzpatrick and get Chris Ivory going. Brian Winters relieved an injured Willie Colon weeks ago and played fairly well against Miami. Since then, he has struggled. James Carpenter has been consistent at LG and All Pro Nick Mangold is banged up. JJ Watt should be licking his chops right about now. In order for a Jets victory Sunday, this unit needs to come together along with the new found help of Enunwa and their best blocking back (Powell), to keep this monster out of the backfield.

Please, Be Better


Special Teams: Ever since all time great Mike Westoff left Florham Park, the special teams unit has been a dumpster fire. We’ve seen Ryan Quiqley shank punts, the punt and kickoff team letting up huge returns and the slowest man alive returning kicks. The only thing consistent about this unit over the past few seasons has been K Nick Folk.  Naturally, you can now find him on season ending IR.  In the Jets losses this year, special teams has played a huge role. Against the Eagles, a punt return touchdown.  The Patriots, our spot punter Steve Weatherford forgot how to punt. And of course the Bills, Devin Smith fumbling the kickoff returned for a touchdown. I think I speak for everyone when I say I took Mike Westoff for granted. Anyways, against Houston Sunday the special teams needs to commit zero mistakes.  Gang Green’s schedule is full of meaningful games down the stretch, and this unit needs to get better one game at a time. Ironically enough, a big part of this unit is now former Texans kicker Randy Bullock.

Hello Again


Mike Maccagnan and company return!: The fan favorite new GM of the Jets returns to his old stomping grounds. Maccagnan was with the Texans for 14 years dating back to 2000, across multiple positions. In his first GM role, the New Jersey native went on a spending spree in the offseason totaling almost 200 million dollars. In a world where just a season before him GM John Idzik would not spend a penny, he quickly became beloved by the fans. It remains to be seen if this bold spending strategy will pay off, but he does have a team that’s 5-4 and sitting in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race. Hey, it’s better than the 4 win season last year, so I’m not complaining. It can be assumed that he has remained close with management of the Texans, as referenced by the multiple trades completed between them and signings of former Texans players.