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STATS Writer


(AP) -- Ryan Fitzpatrick is on track to renew acquaintances with his former team. The Houston Texans may be feeling a little reminiscent as well.


The Jets' quarterback situation has become clear, while the Texans' is still clouded by a health issue going into Sunday's matchup at NRG Stadium.


Houston (4-5) has climbed back into the AFC South race by virtue of a 3-1 stretch coinciding with Brian Hoyer's reinstallment as starting QB. The Texans moved into a tie with Indianapolis for first place with Monday's 10-6 road upset of previously unbeaten Cincinnati, though Hoyer wasn't around to finish it after sustaining a concussion in the third quarter.


T.J. Yates replaced him and found DeAndre Hopkins for a 22-yard score early in the fourth, his first touchdown pass since leading Houston past the Bengals as a rookie in the 2011 wild-card round.


Yates was pressed into duty that season due to injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart. After rejoining the Texans last month following a one-year stop in Atlanta, he finds himself again in the thick of a playoff race with Hoyer ruled out for this game as he recovers during the short week.


"It's a little nostalgic," said Yates, who also rallied the Texans to a critical win in Cincinnati in his second career start nearly four years ago. "I have a lot of good memories in Cincinnati."


Yates seems to be in line for his first start since the 2011 playoffs, particularly after the Texans claimed quarterback Brandon Weeden off waivers from Dallas on Wednesday to presumably serve as a backup.


Yates would be the third quarterback to start for Houston this season, the same number coach Bill O'Brien used during his debut season of 2014. Fitzpatrick was part of that rotation, having opened the first nine games before being displaced by the recently released Ryan Mallett.


Traded to the Jets in March for a conditional 2016 draft pick, Fitzpatrick has New York (5-4) in the playoff hunt by having performed capably since reuniting with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, his one-time coach in Buffalo.


The well-traveled veteran is coming off a rough outing, however, going 15 of 34 for 193 yards and two interceptions while playing through a torn ligament in his left thumb in a 22-17 loss to the Bills on Nov. 12.


Fitzpatrick underwent surgery the following day and is eager to start against the Texans, which will happen barring any setbacks.


"I've been on enough teams now to where you don't hold grudges, but (the trade) plays into it," he said. "The fact that they didn't necessarily want me at the end of the year plays into it a little bit for me from the personal standpoint."


Motivation for both teams is high regardless due to the game's significance. The Jets and Bills are tied for the AFC's final wild-card spot with a host of teams, including Houston, a game behind.


While much of the buildup has centered around the quarterbacks, it's been the defenses that have both clubs in contention.


The Jets rank fourth in total defense and are yielding a league-low 88.1 rushing yards per game, though the unit has displayed a few cracks in recent weeks. New York has allowed 121.3 rushing yards and 4.7 per attempt over its last three, and surrendered a season-high 148 to Buffalo.


Houston permitted 503 yards in a Week 7 loss at Miami but has been superb since, allowing four field goals and 467 yards combined in wins over Tennessee and Cincinnati.


The Texans have recorded 11 sacks in those two victories, with outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus notching 4 1/2 and J.J. Watt 3 1/2.


"We already knew what we had. It was just eliminating mistakes, penalties and just playing the way we know how to play - smart, fast, aggressive football," Mercilus said.


The pass rush could get a further boost in Jadeveon Clowney's expected return from a back injury that kept the 2014 No. 1 overall pick out of Monday's win.


The teams are meeting for the first time since 2012 and seventh overall, with the Jets having won the first five prior to a 23-17 home loss. New York is 2-0 at NRG Stadium, with the most recent win a 24-7 decision in the 2009 opener.


Source: Hosted.Stats.com

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Jets declared DE Sheldon Richardson, SS Dion Bailey, T Dakota Dozier, T Ben Ijalana, CB Dee Milliner, QB Bryce Petty and WR Kenbrell Thompkins inactive for Week 11 against the Texans.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Richardson (hamstring) was unlikely to play so his absence is hardly a surprise. Antonio Cromartie (quad), Eric Decker (knee), Ryan Fitzpatrick (thumb), Nick Mangold (neck/hand), Brandon Marshall (toe/ankle), Dexter McDougie (hand/ankle), Bilal Powell (ankle), Calvin Pryor (ankle), Darrelle Revis (hip) and Buster Skrine (shoulder/hand) are all active.




Texans declared RB Chris Polk, G Oday Aboushi, ILB Akeem Dent, TE Garrett Graham, QB Brian Hoyer, CB Kareem Jackson and FS Rahim Moore inactive for Week 11 against the Jets.

Polk (hamstring) was expected to play Sunday, so his absence is a bit of a surprise. With Polk out, Jonathan Grimes will handle backup duties behind starter Alfred Blue. Max Bullough (shoulder/hamstring), Jadeveon Clowney (back), Jared Crick (ankle), DeAndre Hopkins (knee), Charles James (foot), Kevin Johnson (thigh), Ben Jones (thumb), Johnathan Joseph (calf), Nick Novak (thigh), Brian Peters (hamstring) and Nate Washington (hip) are all active.

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Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt has impressed during his NFL career with his ability to rush the passer. The Texans' opponent this week, the New York Jets, are also impressed by his ability to rush the puck.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, an offensive lineman for the Jets who could face Watt a lot Sunday, told ESPN.com in a story published Friday that beyond the All-Pro accolades Watt has received for his play on the field, it's his hockey abilities that stood out.
Ferguson had seen a video posted to YouTube of Watt at a University of Wisconsin summer hockey event. Watt picks up the puck at center ice, skates to just above the hash marks, pulls up and rockets a slap shot into the net as the goalie jumped out of the way.
"I was impressed with his ice skating -- hockey," Ferguson told ESPN.com. "He wasn't actually playing … well, yeah he was. It was a charity event. I remember he did a slap shot. He looked very smooth and it's a cool thing to see guys be multitalented."
Watt grew up in Wisconsin playing hockey from the time he was 3 years old until he was 13 and switched to football full-time. He would go to the Kohl Center to watch Wisconsin play, as well as the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.
"I love hockey," Watt told NHL.com in 2013. "Any time it's on TV, I'm always watching. My goal is to one day go to the Winter Olympics to check out some Olympic hockey."
Love watching Watt dominate on the DL and for this. and he actually cares about helping kids and whatnot.
Edited by Bay

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