The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) take on the Houston Texans (0-2) in what should be a very interesting game. The Bucs are coming off a convincing win against the New Orleans Saints just one week after being absolutely demolished by the Tennessee Titans. Which of those games was a fluke, and which was a better indicator of the future of this team? Meanwhile, the Houston Texans have yet to won a game, but both losses were relatively close. Quarterback problems continue to plague Houston, as they have throughout their history, but the Texans are talented enough to scrape out a winning season. Just one problem: a loss on Sunday means starting 0-3, and that's one hefty deficit to overcome.
The biggest challenge on both sides will be in the trenches. The Bucs have struggled to protect Jameis Winston, and that pass protection won't be helped by facing J.J. Watt and the quickly improving Jadeveon Clowney. Meanwhile, the Texans have been hard-hit by the injury to starting left tackle Duane Brown which has prevented them from running the ball effectively, compounded by the poor play by quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. And this week, they'll not only have to face Gerald McCoy, but NFL sack leader Jacquies Smith as well.
Both teams are also figuring out how to most effectively manage their quarterbacks. Jameis Winston struggled in game one, but looked much more comfortable in a more limited role in week two, while Ryan Mallett has been a bit of a disaster but may be better managed against a weaker Tampa Bay defense. This early in the season, we're still figuring out what each of these players is really capable of.
Here's everything you need to watch Sunday's game.
Nuts and bolts
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, September 26
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: FOX (click here to see if you get the game)
Announcers: Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston
Odds: Texans by 7
Radio: 620 WDAE and 103.5 WFUS
Enemy Blog: Battle Red Blog
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Injuries: The Texans will be without left tackle Duane Brown and running back Arian Foster, though wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be ready to go. The Bucs see Mike Evans return to action, but center Evan Smith and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins are not available. Several other players are listed as questionable for the game, but they should be able to suit up on Sunday.
Buccaneers regular season
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, 4:25 p.m. - Tennessee Titans L: 42-14
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:00 p.m. - at New Orleans Saints W: 26-19
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:00 p.m. - at Houston Texans (1-2)
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, 1:00 p.m. - Carolina Panthers (11-18)
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, 1:00 p.m. - Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)
Week 6: Bye week
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, 1:00 p.m - at Washington (10-9)
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, 1:00 p.m. - at Atlanta Falcons (21-22)
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, 4:05 p.m. - New York Giants (6-12)
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, 1:00 p.m. - Dallas Cowboys (3-11)
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, 1:00 p.m. - at Philadelphia Eagles (5-8)
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 p.m. - at Indianapolis Colts (5-7)
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, 1:00 p.m. - Atlanta Falcons (21-22)
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, 1:00 p.m. - New Orleans Saints (17-29)
Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 17, 8:25 p.m. - at St. Louis Rams (8-12)
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, 1:00 p.m. - Chicago Bears (18-37)
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 p.m. - at Carolina Panthers (11-18)