Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 Keys to Beating the Houston Texans

A few ways that the Bucs can come out with a victory in Week 3.

1. Make them throw the ball.
The Texans have thrown 105 passes in their first two games, the most of any team in the league, and they've lost both contests. Between Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer, the Texans' quarterbacks have a combined passer rating of 68.7, the second-worst of any team in the NFL. With so many passing attempts, the Texans have not been able to establish the run; the team's 44 attempts are the seventh-fewest after two games. The formula of shutting down the run and forcing the Texans to air the ball out has proven to be successful thus far.

2. Account for the pass-rush.
A simple suggestion here could be "slow down J.J. Watt," but that's much easier said than done. In fact, the extra attention Watt's gotten this season hasn't done much to slow down his production; he's currently tied for second in the league with three sacks. The Texans are also benefiting from a healthy Jadeveon Clowney, who Pro Football Focus has rated as their ninth-best 3-4 outside linebacker so far this season. There are a handful of ways the Bucs could approach slowing these two down – whether it be adding an extra back or tight end to help in protection or drawing up short, quick passes to get the ball out of Jameis Winston's hands. Whatever the approach will be, it is imperative to keep these two off of Winston's back.

3.  Control the clock.
The Texans' offense averages one minute and 52 seconds per drive, the second-worst in the league so far. But their defense is also giving them more opportunities. The Texans have received 10 punts this season, the most of any team. Their defense is doing an excellent job of bending but not breaking and preventing opposing offenses from pushing the ball into field goal range. It is important for the Bucs to continue to force the Texans' offense into short drives, but Tampa Bay must also work on wearing down Houston's defense and establishing long drives themselves.

Behind the scenes photos from the Bucs win against the Saints in New Orleans.

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