Both sides have two wins in their last three outings, but sit at opposite ends of the table, with the newly-promoted Hornets in the top half, while the home side sit in the relegation zone.
Sunderland have started to see their fortunes change following Sam Allardyce's appointment in October. The Black Cats finished November with back-to-back wins, and have won three of their last six outings in the top flight.
A tricky match at the Emirates against Arsenal last weekend saw Sunderland on the wrong side of a 3-1 scoreline though, leaving the team 19th in the table, a point from safety.
The team will be happy to be back on home soil this week, having secured the majority of their points at the Stadium of Light this season. Two of their three victories have been at their own stadium, as have two of their three clean sheets.
Defending has been a real problem for Sunderland this season, with the team conceding 29 goals in their 15 matches so far - only Bournemouth and Newcastle United have let in more.
The side's defensive struggles have resulted in reports that England Under-21 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who is currently on loan with Preston North End in the Championship, could be recalled in January.
The team's attack has been stronger since Allardyce's arrival though, with the team failing to score in just one of their last six fixtures, netting nine times over the same period.
Recent form: WLLWWL
Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney's form has helped the newly-promoted side climb into the top half of the table. The duo were both on the scoresheet last weekend, taking the strikers' totals to nine and five goals respectively so far this season.
The duo's form has resulted in transfer speculation ahead of January's window, with the manager admitting that he is concerned about interest from other clubs. Deeney is also included on the shortlist for November's Premier League Player of the Month award.
Watford were one of the lowest-scoring sides in the top flight in the first couple of months of the campaign, but with 17 goals from 15 matches, the team now have the same number as defending champions Chelsea, and are just one behind Liverpool.
The team has also been strong at the back, keeping six clean sheets while conceding just 16 times - five fewer than league leaders Leicester City, although just one of their clean sheets comes from their last four matches.
Watford's home and away form has been fairly equal, with half of their six victories coming on the road. The Hornets tend to be involved in higher-scoring fixtures away from home though, scoring and conceding almost twice as often when playing away from Vicarage Road.
Recent form: WWLLWW
Lee Cattermole is also absent with a back injury, while Steven Fletcher will need a late fitness test after injuring his foot in training. Allardyce confirmed that Jermaine Defoe and Wes Brown will both come back into the squad.
For the visitors, Valon Behrami has not featured since injuring his knee last month, but he has been back in training, so could return this weekend.
Sebastian Prodl is also in contention, having returned to training after injuring his calf a couple of weeks ago, but this match could come too soon for the defender.
Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Pantilimon, Coates, O'Shea, Kaboul, Yedlin, M'Vila, Rodwell, Van Aanholt, Borini, Fletcher, Watmore
Watford possible starting lineup:
Gomes, Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Anya, Watson, Capoue, Abdi, Ighalo, Deeney
Head To Head
This will be the first time that these two sides have met since the 2004-05 Championship season, when Sunderland claimed a 4-2 victory in the match at the Stadium of Light.
Watford have not beaten the Black Cats since 1999, but recorded an emphatic 8-0 win in the first ever meeting between the two sides.
In 20 previous matches, Sunderland have won eight times, while Watford have beaten this weekend's opponents just five times.
We say: Sunderland 1-2 Watford
Sunderland have started to look more like a side capable of avoiding relegation in recent weeks, but Watford's formidable strike duo are in impressive form, and the Ighalo-Deeney combo will surely keep the home defenders busy. The Black Cats will look to exploit Watford's weaker-on-the-road defence, but it is hard not to see the visitors scoring a couple down the other end.