While it's great that the Bucs offense showed up well against the Saints defense, the fact is that the Saints defense is one of the worst defenses in the NFL. This week, the Bucs offense faces a much better and much more physical defense in the Texans. To add to that additional pressure for the Bucs offense, they will be without Jameis Winston's security outlet in Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
"He’s the MVP of the league, rightfully so – great player, motor," Lovie Smith said of JJ Watt on Wednesday. "Every down you get the same type effort, someone we have to deal with. We talk about our front being the engine of our defense. That’s definitely the case with the Texans. Of course [Jadeveon] Clowney is a great player. [Whitney] Mercilus [is] a good player. Vince Wilfork has been a great player in the league for a long period of time. As I see it each week, it’s their D-line versus our D-line and as we are talking to them, it’s two defensive lines playing and we’ll see which one can have the most production.”
While it's easy to just say the Bucs just need to run the ball effectively against the Texans, I believe it's a bit deeper than just that. The screen game worked well against the Saints, and screen passes are an excellent way to neutralize an explosive pass rush. I'd look for both Doug Martin and Charles Sims to still be used often in the pass game.
Another name to watch out for will be Mike Evans. Last week against the Saints, I believe he was used more as a decoy than anything else. With Seferian-Jenkins out, and Evans getting healthier, we could finally see Evans become a focal point of the Bucs offense.
“Last week, any player comes off [an injury], you can’t go from no reps to an entire game, especially with a hamstring injury you have to, I wouldn’t say ease him in there, but you just have to watch the reps a little bit," Lovie Smith said of Evans. "Mike didn’t have any issues. He should be a lot better this week. Mike is one of the best players on our team, one of the best receivers in the league. Whether Austin is able to go this week or not, Mike’s role has to increase. Normally something good happens for the Buccaneers if we are getting the ball up to Mike Evans. It’s good to see him back out there.”
This Sunday's matchup with the Texans could end up being a low scoring game where badly timed turnovers end up deciding the outcome.