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In the NFL playoffs, there’s no margin for error; a single play can be the difference between a trip to the Super Bowl and an early end to the postseason. That reality means everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to reach their ultimate goal. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is no exception to that rule.

Watt had been sidelined since the end of October with a torn pectoral muscle but will be back in uniform for the Texans Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills. Regardless of what he’s able to do on the field, however, the veteran is taking steps to ensure his teammates are ready for the occasion.

J.J. Watt’s road to recovery

For all of his game-wrecking potential, J.J. Watt has struggled with injuries. While the defensive end has 96 career sacks, he’s only 32 games in the last four seasons.

After offseason knee surgery, Watt entered the 2019 campaign with a clean bill of health. He played the first seven games of the season without any issues, but everything changed in Week 8; the defensive end tore his pectoral muscle making a tackle against the Oakland Raiders. While the Texans didn’t formally say it was a season-ending injury, it seemed like Watt couldn’t make it back in before the end of the year.

J.J. Watt, however, has made a career out of proving the doubters wrong. The Texans saved a “designated to return” spot for him, and the defensive end repaid their faith; he worked his way back to fitness and is expected to take the field on Wild Card Weekend.

J.J. Watt ensures that his Houston Texans teammates are ready for the big moment

Assuming J.J. Watt is able to perform at a high level, the Houston Texans will be glad to have him back on the field on Saturday. Even if he struggles, though, the veteran has already ensured that his teammates know the magnitude of the moment.

When the team took the practice field on New Year’s Eve, Watt stepped up to make an inspirational speech, highlighting the significance of their upcoming game; given his injury issues, it surely came from the heart. While locker room motivation can easily veer into cliches, the Texans players were struck by the power of Watt’s words.

Laremy Tunsil explained that the speech gave players chills. DeAndre Carter praised Watt’s leadership and said that it was something the team needed to hear before their first playoff game. If the Texans come out flat on Saturday, it won’t be J.J. Watt’s fault.

Can the Houston Texans get a big win on Wild Card Weekend?

Motivational speeches are all well and good, but words won’t mean very much if the Houston Texans can’t beat the Buffalo Bills on Saturday. Even with Watt in the line-up, though, victory won’t come easily.

The game will pit strength against strength, with the Texans boasting a dangerous offense and the Bills thriving thanks to tough defense. The game, however, could come down to the Texans’ ability to stop Josh Allen; while Buffalo prefers to run the ball, they’ve found success when their young quarterback is allowed to produce big plays.

If J.J. Watt can pressure Josh Allen, that might be enough to get the Houston Texans over the finish line. If not, he’ll hope his motivational words ring true and his teammates can pick up the slack.