NFL Week 8 Preview: Texans at Seahawks
The Houston Texans visit the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Aaron Resnick
Matchup: Houston Texans offense vs. Seattle Seahawks defense
- QB Deshaun Watson vs. S Earl Thomas – Despite prolific traditional stats, Watson’s overall grade of 69.2 currently ranks 29th among quarterbacks. Part of that could have to do with his accuracy. Among 34 qualifying quarterbacks, Watson’s adjusted completion percentage of 66.1 currently ranks 33rd. Although he is second among quarterbacks with 17.2 percent of his passes traveling 20-plus yards, going against a perennial All-Pro in Thomas will be a great test. Thomas comes in with an overall grade of 85.7 and a coverage grade of 87.0 that ranks 11th among safeties. For the season Thomas is allowing 0.31 yards per coverage snap and a reception once every 33.7 snaps in coverage. It takes just one play to swing a game, and for better or worse that could happen if Watson challenges Thomas.
- WR DeAndre Hopkins vs. CB Shaquill Griffin – With Hopkins primarily lining up on the opposite side of Richard Sherman, odds are he’ll see plenty of Griffin this Sunday. Hopkins’ overall grade of 82.4 sits 12th among receivers and his 1.73 yards per route run checks in 28th. A third-round pick this past April, Griffin has a tough test in this one. Having played more than 55 snaps in each of his past three games he has responded well. Griffin’s overall grade of 80.1 ranks 38th among corners and despite being targeted once every 5.3 snaps in coverage, he is allowing 0.96 yards per coverage snap. Watson relies on Hopkins early and often, so Griffin’s response to the high volume against a top tier receiver could be a determining factor.
- TE Ryan Griffin vs. LB Bobby Wagner – In his last four games, Griffin has been targeted 20 times and hauled in 12 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. 11th among tight ends with 1.64 yards per route run, Griffin had a linebacker covering him on 10 of those targets and caught six. Griffin’s toughest task to date will be Wagner, who is in the middle of an All-Pro caliber season. Wagner has an overall grade 95.1 and a phenomenal coverage grade of 94.1. Both grades lead all linebackers and his figures for coverage snaps per target, coverage snaps per reception, and yards allowed per coverage snap all rank in the top ten among inside linebackers. Watson may trust him, but don’t be surprised if Griffin’s targets come in a different individual matchup.
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks offense vs. Houston Texans defense
- WR Doug Baldwin vs. CB Johnathan Joseph – This matchup features the league’s fourth highest graded receiver in Baldwin (86.0) and the league’s 13th highest graded cornerback in Joseph (84.4). Baldwin has been targeted 50 times this season and has caught 36 of those for a passer rating of 106.8 when targeted, seventh highest among all wide receivers. Joseph is allowing a passer rating of 44.7 when targeting his coverage on 19 targets, fifth lowest among all cornerbacks. With Joseph playing only 13 of his 172 coverage snaps in the slot, expect to see Baldwin there even more than usual against the Texans, where he averages 1.71 yards gained per route run on 129 routes from the slot, ninth highest among all receivers.
- Seattle Running Backs vs. Houston run defense – Seattle’s running backs have not generated many missed tackles since losing Chris Carson for the year, in fact, they have forced a combined nine the whole season as compared to Carson’s 11 he had in four weeks. Seattle hasn’t lost a game since Week 1 when they have had their running backs combine for at least three missed tackles, the game against the Titans they combined for two. They will see a Houston defense that has missed the ninth-most tackles as a defense (50) and have the league’s second highest missed tackle percentage at 15.90.
- T Rees Odhiambo vs. Edge Ufomba Kamalu – Left tackle Rees Odhiambo is coming off of his highest graded game of the 2017 season against the New York Giants, with his 86.0 game grade ranking 23rd among all tackles in Week 7. Odhiambo’s one total quarterback pressure in Week 7 was the lowest allowed in his career for any game he started and the second time in three games he has allowed two or less pressures. He’s averaging seven quarterback pressures allowed in the other four games he’s started. With injuries plaguing the Texans’ front four, Ufomba Kamalu has come in and generated five of his six quarterback pressures from the right side of the defense. He has the 17th highest pass-rush productivity at 14.0 over Weeks 5 and 6 among all edge defenders.