What you need to know as Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson prepare to go head-to-head
HOUSTON – When was the last time we had such a hyped NFL matchup between two big-time quarterbacks like what we have seen and heard in the past five days?
Let’s get ready to rumble Sunday in Baltimore and watch superstars Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson go head-to-head for the first time in the NFL.
They do have a history, and it's pretty good.
Remember that race for the Heisman Trophy in 2016 when these two studs went to the wire, with Jackson taking home the hardware over your Texans quarterback? That’s all behind them now.
The two will battle it out Sunday with much bigger stakes.
The Texans are 6-3 coming off their bye week, while the high-powered Ravens check in at 7-2 and are riding Jackson all the way.
Both are top five QBs in the NFL, and both will get the national love when they clash at 12 p.m. Sunday.
As good as both quarterbacks are, they handle their position in different ways. Both can run and both can sling it but the priorities for the two are on different ends of the spectrum when it comes to running the offense of their respective teams.
Here are some numbers to digest as you count down to Sunday:
WATSON VS JACKSON: Through the air
Watson: 212/302, 2,432 yards, 18 TDs, 5 interceptions, 15 sacks
Jackson: 168/255, 2,036 yards, 15 TDs, 5 interceptions,18 sacks
WATSON VS JACKSON: On the ground
Watson: 52 carries, 279 yards, 5 TDs
Jackson: 106 carries, 702 yards, 6 TDs
They have two different styles but both get points on the board
A lot of people all week have compared the two quarterbacks, but the fact is they each have their own style of play that gets results.
Bill O’Brien will tell you for Watson it’s all about pass first and production in the pocket. Run options where he can use his feet fall next in the pecking order.
At the end of the day, Watson makes plays at any time and can strike quickly, especially with his tight ends -- who have accounted for eight touchdowns this season, including six from Darren Fells.
As a group, the Texans offense is scoring at a clip of 26 points per game, which puts them eighth in the AFC.
The Ravens' run defense is below average, so Sunday could come down to how much success Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson can have on the ground. Houston has struggled to score in the first quarter this season and is one of the worst in the league in that category.
On Sunday, it will be crucial to set the tone and get points on the board in the opening quarter. Another zero in the opening frame will only open the door for Baltimore. That said, this Texans defense is stingy stopping the run which makes this showdown all the more fun to watch.
For Jackson, it is the total package with what he does with his feet that hurts most defenses.
He too has TE weapons in Mark Andrews (523 yards, 5 TDs) and Nick Boyle (21 catches) whom he doesn’t hesitate to get the football to.
Add in WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (454 yards, 4 TDs) and a solid RB in Mark Ingram (619 yards, 8 TDs), and these Ravens on offense are dangerous.
On the season, they are averaging 33 points per game, which is first in the AFC. Their run game, with Ingram and Jackson supplying the one-two punch, also leads the AFC with 197 yards per game.\
Offensively, the Ravens average 421 yards per game, which is second overall in the AFC.
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