The Texans are the biggest favorite on the board this week and unless they simply don't show up, should win this game easily. That being said, it is a division game against a team that knows your plays and tendencies very well. I don't think the Jaguars will seriously challenge the Texans on Sunday, but upsets are possible in games like this. If the Jaguars are competitive in this game, they'll have to have a great game on defense. They're capable of at least slowing down the Texans offense, but Blaine Gabbert is not capable of moving the ball consistently and putting up points against the Texans defense.
Texans Offense Vs. Jaguars Defense:
The Jaguars rank 29th in rushing yards allowed per game and 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed this season. In their earlier game this season, the Texans ran for 216 yards; the Texans next highest total this season is 181 yards. Arian Foster had 110 rushing yards in their last meeting, I expect him to easily surpass that number this weekend. In five career games against the Jaguars, Foster has averaged 104 yards per game and has scored six touchdowns. Even if Ben Tate were to miss another game (he's questionable), there's no reason to expect the Texans to rush for less than 175 yards against Jacksonville. The Jaguars could choose to load the box and take away the run, but that strategy would likely lead to them getting beat deep by the play action pass. In their last meeting the Jaguars chose to play their safeties deep, keep everything in front of them and limit big plays. They managed to hold Schaub under 200 passing yards, but with only seven men in the box, the Texans ran all over them. The Jaguars simply don't have enough talent on defense to stop the Texans. The Texans will take what the Jaguars give them because they can't stop everything, and should score easily. The Jaguars rank 26th in points allowed, the Texans rank 5th in points scored this season.
Texans Defense Vs. Jaguars Offense:
Maurice Jones-Drew averaged five yards a carry in their last meeting, but only had 12 attempts because they fell behind early in the game and had to abandon the running game. In the three games that Rashad Jennings has been a starter after taking over for the injured MJD, he's averaged just 43 rushing yards per game on 3.2 yards per carry and has not scored a touchdown. The Texans defense ranks third in rushing yards allowed and has not allowed a single rushing touchdown this season; I wouldn't expect much from the Jaguars running game on Sunday.
In the earlier game against the Texans it appeared that Blaine Gabbert didn't even look more than 10 yards down field and too often looked for his dump off option right away. Gabbert finished the game 7-19 for 53 yards, but if you take off his long completion of 32 yards, his other six completions went for an average of 3.5 yards. The Jaguars rank 26th in sacks allowed, his receivers aren't getting open quickly, and he's starting to look shell shocked like David Carr towards the end of his time with the Texans. Maybe Gabbert would have turned out this way even with a good offensive line and reliable weapons to throw to, but either way it doesn't take much to rattle him. If the Texans can pressure him early, be in his face and around his legs quickly as he drops back, they can take him out of the game mentally before halftime.
The Jaguars Can Win If...
- They are +2 or better in turnovers
- Rashad Jennings rushes for over 125 yards
- Their defense takes away the Texans run game and makes them one dimensional