Week 14 Preview: Tampa Bay at Houston

Houston Texans safety Will Demps (47) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans tight end Bo Scaife (80) in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be well on their way to the NFC South title, and this week it’s another test for the up and coming Bucs as they travel to Houston to take on the struggling Texans.  Houston has dropped two in a row and been very streaky in 2007, and while they were looking like a possible playoff contender at 5-5, now the best they can hope for is to play the role of spoiler.  The big story for this game will be the QB spots on each side, as the Texans will have to go with Sage Rosenfels, filling in for an injured Matt Schaub.  As for the Bucs, it looks like gamer Jeff Garcia will be back under center after missing last week with a back injury.

The Bucs have not had a five-game winning streak since 2002, and that is what they are aiming for here.  They have won four straight with solid play from their defense, and a good run game with Earnest Graham and mostly mistake free play from the QB spot.  Head coach Jon Gruden knows that getting Garcia back this week is a big key.  “He’s a needed guy on our football team,” Gruden said. “We need to win another game. We’re in the fight of our lives to win every Sunday, and this week is no different.”

Look for the Bucs to try and establish the run first, and mix in the play-action pass, which has been a big part of their offense in 2007.  The Texans have to aim to not let Garcia sit in the pocket and make plays, but that will be tough and with their secondary hurting, look for Joey Galloway and friends to find some room to make some plays.  Look for Houston to throw some blitzes in to try and stop Garcia and the passing game.

On the Texans side, Rosenfels has the ability to make plays, as he showed earlier in the year vs the Titans at home he can get the ball down the field when he needs to.  Andre Johnson has been back in the lineup now for three weeks, and he has been solid, last week going for 116 yards with a score.  He’s gone over 100 in two of the last three games, and in four of the five games he’s played in this season.

This should be an interesting game from the standpoint of seeing if the Texans can contain Garcia and the Bucs passing game.  On the other side, it’ll be up to Rosenfels to get the ball to Johnson, Kevin Walter and the other pass catchers to try and make some plays.  The Bucs will win the South, but it’s easy to think they will slip up here vs a Texans team that needs to get back on track.

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