CODY STOOTS

The Friday Stoots 6-pack for Week 5

J.J. Watt will have a tough test this week. Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

1. Can my buddy Patrick Mahomes do it again or can he do it again? When it looked like Denver had him bottled up he unleashed "Showtime" Mahomes on them in short order leading a road comeback. The Jacksonville Jaguars come to town as the toughest test quarter-pole MVP has faced. This is a potential AFC playoff preview and Andy Reid will have to coach up his young quarterback to avoid the deadly pitfalls a Jaguars defense presents. If they can't slow Mahomes down the question will be, who can?

2. The Falcons and Steelers have to be near the top of the early season disappointment list and they square off with each other Sunday. One of these high-powered offenses is going to leave this game with one win. That seems crazy when both were easily thought of as playoff contenders and the Steelers Super Bowl contenders. The Falcons have excuses in injuries destroying their defense. The Steelers have fewer excuses, James Conner has filled in admirably for Le'Veon Bell and their defense returns a ton of the players that made them good last year. Both coaches should be staring down the hot seat if this early season dip continues. 

3. Stop me if you've heard this before but the Patriots are loaded again. Tom Brady looks deadset on fighting Father Time to the death and now the Patriots have a piece of the puzzle they've been missing, a hammer. Sony Michel is the first guy in a long time they can turn to over and over again and at any moment have him break a big one but hold up between the tackles. James White is as dangerous as ever. Josh Gordon is coming along nicely as well. Julian Edelman is back from suspension and they still have Chris Hogan and Gronk. The defense stinks, maybe one of the worst they've put on the field recently, but their offense is as good as ever. 

4. I know Ezekiel Elliot is the big target on the Cowboys. The Colts though just tore up the Texans defense with a few guys you've never heard of so I am a little worried about one Dallas player having a big day. Cole Beasley is the slot king of South Oklahoma and he's far better than any Colts receiver that isn't T.Y. Hilton. His craftiness and ability will be on full display Sunday night. So, while Elliot grabs attention don't forget about the short-game superstar Beasley. 

5. The AFC Defensive Player of the Month J.J. Watt and AFC Defensive Player of the Week Jadeveon Clowney have a tough task this week. Their toughest, actually. Watt spent a month eating up backup tackles who frankly aren't La'el Collins. Tyron Smith, despite recent bouts of injuries, is still a top tackle in the game. Where they will have to show up against the Texans award-winning duo is slowing down Watt and Clowney in the rush game. Both absolutely wreck the rushing attack of an offense and if Elliot can't get going the Cowboys will have no hope Sunday night. 

6. Sunday Night Football last year was an absolute nightmare for the Texans. Against the Chiefs, the team lost Whitney Mercilus for the year and J.J. Watt broke his leg, looking the most human he has ever looked. The big bright spot was, as usual in 2017, Deshaun Watson. It was a terribly slow start as the whole franchise was in shock during the first half. Watson warmed up in the second half. He tossed four touchdowns and made the final score look respectable. It was underwhelming to see what the offense did with a lead last week. They should've put the Colts away. Hopefully, the Texans don't need second-half heroics from Watson on this year's Sunday night affair. It would be great to see the offense get a lead, really get a team down, and bury them. No better opponent than the Cowboys. 

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ROCKETS FALL TO WARRIORS

Critical takeaways from Rockets' 105-103 loss to Warriors

Rockets fall short against Warriors. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This wasn't the typical Houston Rockets-Golden St. Warriors game when Mike D' Antoni and Steve Kerr were having an offensive battle of wits. James Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was nowhere in sight for the Rockets Friday night. Although the Rockets are in rebuild mode, it was still an interesting game. The intensity was high throughout the entire game. Emotions between Stephen Silas and Kerr were heavy, as they were yelling and jumping up-and-down along the sidelines.

A series of runs and back-and-forth scoring gave a slight reminder of the old rivalry between the Warriors and Rockets. Steph Curry was having a tough game, but with 5.1 seconds left, he was able to create great separation from a step back and drained an incredible midrange shot over Kevin Porter Jr. It was heartbreaking because Porter played great defense on Curry throughout the entire game, with Curry only making 6 out of 22 shots. Porter had a tremendous first-half defensively on Curry and recorded an 88.9 defensive rating. Porter had a good feel for guarding Curry, he didn't allow himself to switch away from him. He anticipated passing lanes and ripped Curry a couple of times.

Besides Porter playing great defense, the Rockets played good as a whole. They finished with 10 steals. Their main technique was to switch everything on defense, and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Christian Wood did a good job. It's never easy staying in front of Curry and Jordan Poole, but if they could hold their ground for five seconds, it became possible. Porter did a great job at times by communicating on defense, so he could tell Jalen Green and Eric Gordon when to switch.

And speaking of Green--- he had a strange night offensively. He went 0-11 from the field but made two great plays in the fourth quarter. Instead of Silas keeping Green on the bench because of his cold hand, he kept him in the game for learning purposes. Green made an outstanding play on Curry at the 2:52 mark in the 4th quarter. Before that, he missed a shot from three but fought hard for the rebound, then found a cutting Wood towards the rim. Green might of struggled, but the effort was there.

This was a tough loss for the Rockets, but they are steadily improving. The Rockets are 3-5 in their last five games.

Up next: The Rockets face the Spurs on Tuesday night.

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