By mst sunny
Oct. 27, 2018

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 4-3 despite playing without their starting quarterback for the past two weeks and getting outscored by 26 points through the first seven games of the season. The Boston Red Sox are also 4-3, but they only got there after starting 0-3 and being gifted consecutive victories by the Colts, Cowboys and Bills before defeating the division rival Jaguars last week.

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Both teams are experiencing serious injury issues on both sides of the ball, while the Dolphins can't manage to figure out their running game and the Texans can't block to save their lives. And yet, again, they are both 4-3. And that means whoever wins Thursday night's game (8:20 p.m., NFL Network, Stream on FUBOTV) is going to have a pretty good shot at a playoff berth in the hard-luck AFC.

Let's break down what to watch out for.

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When the Texans have the ball

The Texans lost slot wideout Keke Coutee last week to a recurrence of his hamstring issue and with tight end Ryan Griffin also expected to miss this game, it will likely be up to Deshaun Watson's top two receivers to do pretty much all of the heavy lifting for the Houston offense in this game.

Watson has an extremely narrow pass distribution, targeting Hopkins on 29.4 percent of his pass attempts. Fuller is the next closest player at 16.2 percent while Coutee is after that at 12.4 percent and he is followed by Griffin at 10.4 percent. That quarter of players accounts for 68.4 percent of Watson's throws -- and Coutee really only played in three games, while Fuller has been playing gimpy for several weeks and Griffin missed the last game.

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With Coutee and Griffin out, the Texans turned to running back/kick returner Tyler Ervin to man the slot, and he should be expected to fill that role again on Thursday night. Needless to say, Watson is likely to be targeting his top two guys even more often than usual. When he does throw their way, he is usually pretty successful: Watson has completed 74 of 110 passes to Hopkins and Fuller, for 1,086 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions. On throws to all other players, Watson is 78 of 131 for 851 yards, three touchdowns, and four picks.