HOUSTON -- After three home games at NRG Stadium, the Houston Texans will travel to the Northeast to play two games in cold weather.
Though quarterback Deshaun Watson has plenty of big-game experience, he has never played in the potentially frigid December conditions he could face Saturday in New York against the Jets, where the forecast calls for a low of 39 with an 80 percent chance of rain and 10-15 mph winds, and again in Week 16 in Philadelphia, where temps could dip below freezing with 10-15 mph winds against the Eagles.
"I mean, nothing like the north because I'm from Georgia," Watson said when asked if he has played in winter conditions. "Then, in high school, it was kind of -- it snowed, but it was not the true snow like if you played in New York. So, honestly, no. But it's not going to affect my game."
Bill O'Brien joked about'have a walk-through underneath a fire hose' for Deshaun Watson heading into inclement weather expected at Jets on Saturday— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) December 11, 2018
The coldest game Watson has played in with the Texans was this season when Houston played the Washington Redskins in Week 11. It was 48 degrees, according to ESPN Stats & Information. At Clemson, he played in only three games in temperatures below 50 degrees. The coldest was a home game against North Carolina when it was 42 degrees.
"I just got to put on some Icy Hot or something. Kind of warm up, or some Rock Sauce or something like that," Watson said.
It's unlikely those products will do the trick (unless Watson has sore muscles), but the Texans have plans in place to prepare their Southern-born-and-bred quarterback for wintry conditions.
Head coach Bill O'Brien noted the Texans will get an assist from the weather in Houston this week. Though it's not as cold as the temperatures they could face in New York and Philadelphia, it could help their preparation.
"We're going to practice outside," O'Brien said. "Our weather right now is not like it is in New York or Philly, but it's not great here right now, so I think that's good. Then we'll just do things during practice to kind of help show him what the elements might be like to the best of our ability."
O'Brien said the Texans will try to work with a wet football and focus more on ball security this week, even joking that he would hold a walk-through underneath a fire hose if it doesn't rain in Houston this week.
Watson said he is most focused on his grip in wet weather and making sure he is more "cautious" with his footwork, saying he has to prepare for the possibility that his receivers might have trouble with their footing on the slippery turf if the weather is bad.
Though the Texans won't be facing a similarly talented and vaunted defense in the Jets as the Rams faced against the Bears, Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff had a tough time Sunday on a freezing 29-degree night in Chicago. Goff's struggles could serve as a warning for Watson and the Texans. Leading one of the NFL's best offenses in the bitter cold at Soldier Field, Goff led the Rams to just six points in a loss, throwing four interceptions while going 20-for-44 passing.
Despite the challenges the weather could present, Watson is confident his game will be on point.
"Once I step on the field, I'm good," he said. "[I'm] just [going to] go out there with the game plan and go ball."