The Jaguars return home in week 15 to host the division-rival Texans. But there's a new pep in the step of players and coaches at TIAA Bank Field. Why? The dark cloud looming large over all the "losers" in the building has been lifted. Urban Meyer was fired in the wee hours Thursday morning. With the toxin removed, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has taken over as the interim head coach and will lead the Jaguars over the final four games of the 2021 season.
The Texans trounced the Jaguars in week one of the regular season, dropping 37 points against a Jags' defense that was still working out the kinks. First overall pick Trevor Lawrence was testing Houston's zone concepts in the wrong ways, which led to some untimely interceptions. After their most recent win over the Jags, the Texans have officially doubled them up in all-time series, with 26 wins to just 13 for the Big Cats. Houston has won seven consecutive games against Jacksonville.
Less Drama, More Points?
The Jaguars' offense has been terrifically inept as of late. Over the last seven games, they've averaged an almost unfathomable 9.1 points per game. The problem? Abandoning the run, benching James Robinson, a decline in pass pro, drops, penalties, poor routes, and injuries. You name it, Trevor Lawrence is dealing with it. But is it possible that with Urban Meyer removed from the equation that this Jags' offense could find life? I wouldn't expect an offensive explosion, but a more focused team is certainly not out of the question. Fewer mistakes could mean more points. Of course, it couldn't hurt that the Texans' defense also finds itself in shambles. They've surrendered 64 points over the last two weeks and have been awful against the run, allowing 215 yards per game on the ground during that stretch. The surprise release of linebacker Zach Cunningham undoubtedly hasn't helped in that regard. The Jaguars' game plan should feature a heavy dose of James Robinson, especially with Carlos Hyde out with a concussion.
The Texans' QB situation
Tyrod Taylor, the QB who racked up 331 yards and two touchdowns against the Jags in week one, was benched in favor of rookie Davis Mills in week 13. Mills has had his fair share of ups and downs. However, he doesn't possess the running ability or understanding that comes with being a veteran QB that Taylor does. He's got some upside, but at this point, Mills doesn't give the Texans a better chance to beat the Jaguars than Taylor. Mills' top targets will be Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Jordan Aikens, Brevin Jordan, and Chris Conley.
The Texans' Rushing Attack
Houston boasts the worst running game in the NFL. They've mustered just 77 yards per game on the ground on the season. David Johnson and Royce Freeman will lead the way for the Texans' running game. Johnson is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry on the season while Freeman is all the way up at 3.7. The Jaguars' defense has a golden opportunity to get back to their run-stopping ways in this one, and if they can, this is a winnable game.
The Jaguars' defense finally starts strong. After forcing an opening drive punt, they'll be in position to have a strong performance while their offense does a decent job controlling the clock with James Robinson. The Jaguars resemble an NFL team for the first time in over a month and pull out the W, putting the Texans in position to land the number two overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. I'm not sure that winning games and losing draft position is something fans should get overly excited about, but getting Trevor Lawrence back in the win column should help his confidence and help quiet the noise.
Jaguars 20, Texans 16
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