The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won four in a row and five of their last six, and while that won't be enough to get them into the playoffs in 2019 they still have one more opportunity to affect the postseason field.
The 7-7 Buccaneers will return from their latest road triumph – a 38-17 downing of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field – to welcome the 9-5 Houston Texans to Raymond James Stadium in Week 16. Houston held off a Tennessee rally on Sunday to take over first place in the AFC South over the 8-6 Titans. Tennessee had won four in a row and six of seven to get back into the playoff race, and though the loss to Houston in Week 15 was a significant blow, the two teams will meet again in Houston in Week 17.
In between, the Buccaneers will try to make Houston their fifth straight victim as they seek a winning season in Bruce Arians' first season at the helm. The Texans and their 27th-ranked passing defense will have to figure out a way to slow down Jameis Winston, who on Sunday became the first player in NFL history to record a second consecutive 400-yard passing game. On the other hand, Winston and company will have to figure out how to keep the aerial onslaught going after Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller joined Mike Evans with hamstring injuries in Sunday's win.
The Texans have their own prolific passer in Deshaun Watson, who threw two more touchdown passes in Sunday's win to push his season total to 26, only four fewer than Winston. Kenny Stills caught both of those scoring throws but Houston's top target in the passing game remains DeAndre Hopkins, who caught six passes for 199 yards against the Titans.
The Buccaneers will also play at Raymond James Stadium in Week 17, against Atlanta, and are trying to even up their home record at 4-4. First, they have to get by the Texans in what could prove to be a shootout. Tampa Bay has scored 28 or more points in six of its last seven games while Houston has averaged more than 25 points the last three weeks.