HOUSTON – It’s always fun when two great quarterbacks matchup against each other. When the Houston Texans host the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football on NBC, Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady will be trying to outdo the other and lead their team to victory.
Two of the 11 meetings between these two franchises have featured this quarterback matchup. Watson and the Texans have come up short both times, 36-33 in New England in Watson’s rookie season and 27-20 last season. Both of those games were in New England.
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Of course, in football, they are not really facing off against each other, but rather against the respective defenses.
Watson will be facing one of the league’s elite defenses.
Brady will not be facing one the league’s elite defenses.
But then again, Watson is playing at a Pro Bowl level, and Brady is having arguably his least productive season in a decade.
Watson is the league’s eighth-rated passer, Brady is 21st.
Lamar Jackson is the only AFC quarterback with more touchdown passes (24) than Watson who has 20. Brady’s 15 TD tosses have him in a four-way tie for fifth in the conference.
Watson’s career-high 69.0 completion percentage is fifth in the NFL. Brady’s 62.2 completion percentage is 13th-best of his career or the sixth-worst in his 20-year career. That figure also ranks just 24th in the NFL, behind the likes of Giants rookie Daniel Jones and much-maligned Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
But against the Texans, Brady has been spectacular, winning nine of the 10 games he’s started against Houston. He’s thrown 25 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions and producing a 104.5 passer rating in those 10 games while averaging 284 yards passing per game.
There is plenty of respect between the two who had a chance to cultivate their friendship a couple of seasons ago when the two teams practiced together during training camp at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
"I got to know him a little bit at the Greenbrier, and I’ve heard great things about him. (Former teammate) Wes (Welker) was down there with him and really liked him, and obviously Billy (O’Brien). I have a great relationship with Billy, and he really likes Deshaun a lot,” Brady said.
“Watching him play in college, he’s spectacular and he’s off to a great start in his pro career. Really love watching him play. He’s a great leader for their team and he’s hard to stop. He’s got a great arm, escapes. They have a lot of playmakers, so it’s a very good offense."
Watson was asked this week about how often he communicates with Brady.
"We don't talk as often, especially during the season. We've both got our own things going on,” Watson said.
“Maybe a couple times in the offseason where I'll shoot him a text or things like that. If we're ever in the same area, we'll definitely speak and just talk about like and I'll ask him questions and vice-versa and how his family is doing. But as far as just talking on a daily basis and normal, not too often."
"Just everything, how he carries himself, how he takes care if his body, business side," Watson said about what he could learn from Brady.
“Then on the field just his leadership and how precise and smart and how he kind of leads that team to win a whole bunch of games and get to where they want to get to.”