The Houston Texans (7-6) will return to NRG Stadium this upcoming Sunday to take on the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11). Jacksonville, losers of eight-straight games, is by far the most beatable opponent left on Houston’s schedule, so it is critical for the Texans to come away with a win from this matchup.
With Brock Osweiler under center, this game may be harder to win than it needs to be. Osweiler continues to give Houston headaches with horrific performances. His embarrassing outing against the Colts was a true eyesore for any Texans fan to witness. Not only did Osweiler manage to throw an interception against an awful Indianapolis secondary, he also threw for only 147 yards the entire game, as Houston would score only touchdown in five trips to the red zone, a problem that has plagued them all season.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s secondary is one of their few scary units on their team. The Jaguars only allow an average of 203 passing yards a game, which is ranked 4th in the NFL. This means the Texans will most likely try to win this game with a ground-and-pound approach.
Against the Colts last weekend, Houston learned their best bet to be successful on offense is to hand the ball off to Lamar Miller. Miller, who now has over 1,000 yards rushing on the year, scored the Texans’ only touchdown of the game in Indianapolis and picked up 107 yards on 21 carries. Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s front seven has not fared well in 2016, and allows over 100 yards rushing a game.
Hosuton’s secondary, which is ranked fifth in the NFL against the pass, should give the turnover-prone Blake Bortles fits all day long. Bortles has thrown the second-most interceptions (15) of any quarterback in 2016 and has more pick-sixes (11) in his career than he does victories (10).
Although the Texans will be without the services of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney is finally starting to live up to his draft hype. Against Indianapolis, Clowney recorded a strip-sack against Andrew Luck when the Colts’ offense was deep in the red zone and was getting ready to score a touchdown. This play ended up being a difference-maker, as the Texans only beat Indianapolis by five points.
This could prove to be problematic for Jacksonville, who’s rushing attack ranks 21st in the NFL. Jaguars running back Chris Ivory’s questionable status doesn’t help the cause.
Although the Jaguars are far removed from the AFC playoff race, they would love to play spoiler for a division rival who controls their own destiny. As a result, this game should be closer than most will anticipate it to be.
Prediction: Texans over Jaguars 24-17