Deshaun Watson's growth since last Jaguars meeting

For Deshaun Watson, a lot has changed since the Texans 20-7 win at Jacksonville on Oct. 21. He feels as good as ever, both physically and mentally, heading into the AFC South rematch in Week 17.

"I don't have a collapsed lung or a broken rib, so I guess pretty darn well," Watson said. "I feel good, feel solid, able to do everything I want to do and participate, wake up every morning healthy and in good spirits."

Watson opted for the illustrious bus ride to the Week 7 game, since a chest injury precluded him from flying with the team. The Texans medical staff did not want to take a chance with pressure changes on Watson's rib and chest injury.

Since then, Watson's performance has also improved. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes and just 2 interceptions in the next eight games. Watson also rushed for three touchdowns in that span.

"He was playing well at the beginning of the season, no doubt about it, but he's really playing at a high level now," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's got a real understanding of what's happening defensively, what our offensive game plan is, what our team game plan is. I think he has a really good idea of how we want to try to play the game."

O'Brien has often praised Watson's work ethic. In fact, the second-year quarterback was at NRG Stadium on Christmas Day taking care of his body and preparing for the Jaguars. Watson has earned the trust of the coaching staff and, along with it, the opportunity to be more involved in running the offense.

"Oh he has a lot of freedom," O'Brien said. "I say that in a way that no quarterback has the playbook at his disposal – 50 plays for one play-call – that's not what I mean, but he has the ability to – because of how hard he works and how much time we all spend together, we're all trying to see it through the same set of eyes. When you're out on the field, sometimes the quarterback can see it better than we on the sideline. So, it's important for him to have the ability to make this adjustment, change this, do this, do that. That's part of the trust."

The Texans have clinched a playoff spot, but can still win an AFC South division title with a win on Sunday. Houston will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Sunday's regular season finale. Kickoff is set for 12 noon on CBS and SportsRadio 610.

The Houston Texans took on the Philadelphia Eagles for Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season.

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