Thursday Night Football will be a Game that isn’t of consequeNCe as the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9, 0-5 home) take on the Houston Texans (2-10, 1-4 away). Both teams have struggled in 2013, but Jacksonville is starting to come to life as winners of three of their last Four Games. Houston, on the other hand, has lost 10 Games in a row. A team that was expected to make noise this season, seven of those loses are by less than one TD. These teams met in Houston on November 24 with Jacksonville taking a 13-6 win.
The Jaguars are 7-5 O/U while the Texans are 8-4 O/U this season. The total has gone OVER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 Games. The total has gone OVER in 4 of Jacksonville’s last 5 Games. However, The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Jacksonville’s last 5 Games when playing Houston.
Houston enters this Game after a rough 34-31 loss to New England where they blew a 17-7 half-time lead. The Texans defense played as well as any team could in the first half, but was equally bad in the second half. The pesky Patriots have looked dead in the water two weeks in a row but pulled out wins both times. Even though they lost, it was an impressive effort from Houston’s running Game.
RB Ben Tate had his best Game of the year, racking up 102 YDs on 22 carries for an average 4.6 YPC. He had a long run of 20 YDs and reached the end zone three times. Tate will look to keep playing at a high level against a Jags run defense that ranks 30th in the NFL at 133.5 YPG. This is great news in light of the loss of Arian Foster.
Unfortunately for the Texans, QB Case Keenum had his third consecutive subpar Game. He passed for 15/30 and got 272 YDs and an INT. Keenum took over for Matt SChaub and started his career with three above average Games. Keenum is undeniably talented and will get better with more experieNCe. He needs to work the ball to WR Andre Johnson. An 11-year NFL veteran, Johnson is one of the deadliest WRs in the Game, but his production has declined this year. Still, he has 1,002 YDs which is good for 4th in the NFL. Johnson is 3rd in REC with 74.
The Jaguars looked good in a 32-28 road win against the Cleveland Browns when last seen. They had three turnovers, but did allow a whopping 439 total yards. They will have to do better than that to beat the Texans for a second time this year. The Jags defense is 29th against the run, allowing 130.4 YPG. They are 23rd against the pass, at 250.7 YPG.
Better play is needed from RB Maurice Jones-Drew. The star player has yet to have a 100 yard Game this year. He had six of them in 2011 and only one in 2012 where he missed a large part of the season. He went for 84 YDs and a TD the first time he played Houston and also caught six passes for 60 YDs. A similar effort would make Jacksonville very competitive.
Our Pick – Jags +3