Time for another division rivalry game, this time against the Houston Texans. The Texans are a flawed team, sure, but they consistently look better than we do. However, the formula for winning this game is just like last week's.
Defensively, Jalen Ramsey should try to match up with DeAndre Hopkins for the majority of the game while Prince Amukumura and Tashaun Gipson focus on containing rookie wideout Will Fuller. Combine this with some pressure on Brock Osweiler and they could be kept out of the end zone nearly the entire game.
On offense, all we have to do is not play sloppy. Last week, we couldn't do that, with three (really only two, thanks refs) fumbles and an interception that all led to KC points. If we can keep turnovers under 2 and Chris Ivory keeps up his hot streak, the offense can help the defense dominate this game and pull out a W.
I don't think it's going to happen, but I do think this one will be close. Signs are looking up for the team, especially the defense, and a win here could build some serious momentum. However, I'm taking Houston by 3 in this one.
Prediction: HOU 24, JAX 21
Surprisingly, I’m optimistic about the Jaguars chances against the Houston Texans. Our main concern this week is an ever present and blatantly obvious one. We’re going to need to take care of the football. Bortles, if you find a way to look past his terrible interception last week, played somewhat clean football. He’s still struggling with accuracy and decision-making, but the emergence of the Jags run game bailed him out last week.
We’re going to need to see success in the running game versus a decent Houston Texans defense. Luckily for the Jaguars, the Texans haven’t been great at forcing turnovers this year and their QB, Brock Osweiler, has been throwing quite a few interceptions himself. A huge factor in this game for Jacksonville is injuries to our offensive line. Brandon Linder, Kelvin Beachum and Parnell were all limited in practice this week, although losing Parnell wouldn’t be all that devastating. If the Jaguars running backs continue to trend upward and the Jags win the turnover battle, I think we can come away with a valuable division win this week.
Prediction: HOU 24, JAX 31
The Jaguars haven't beaten the Texans since the end of the 2013 season. That's four straight losses and what's worse is the fact that over the last two seasons the Texans have outscored the Jaguars 111-56 - they've nearly doubled the Jaguars score in the last four contests. The Texans come to Jacksonville with an above average rushing attack with Lamar Miller and Co. In addition to the run game, they have two extremely dangerous receivers in Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins. While their running game and offensive weapons are impressive it looks like the Texans may have whiffed badly with the Brock Osweiler signing. On defense the Texans excel at slowing down the passing game, while their run defense leaves a lot to be desired. They are just as bad at forcing turnovers as the Jaguars - both teams have only 3 INTs on the year (yes, that ranks them last in the NFL, tied with another AFC South rival, the Colts).
The Jaguars defense is excelling on nearly all fronts - the only thing they really struggle with is forcing turnovers. On the flip side the Jaguars offense found life in their running game to the tune of over 200 yards on the ground in Kansas City last week. Look for the Jaguars and their newly appointed offensive coordinator Nate Hackett to pound the rock with Ivory and Yeldon in this one against a Texans defense that is giving up 125 yards a game on the ground and 4.4 yards per carry.
The Jaguars have a better defense than the Texans and have a rather similar offense. Both teams boast explosive weapons on the outside, a talented stable of backs, and QBs who can't get out of their own way. This one could come down to who makes the least mistakes.
The Jags win in a nail biter as their running game dominates for a second straight week. Bortles throws only 1 INT and the Jaguars move the ball consistently. The Texans talented receivers will have an impact in this one, but the Jaguars defense will do just enough to earn the Jags their second division win of 2016.
Prediction: HOU 24, JAX 27
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