LOCATION: Everbank Field (Jacksonville, FL)
BETTING LINE: HOU -1.5
HOUSTON TEXANS PLAYER TO WATCH
Osweiler is not off to a great start with 9 interceptions this season, but he is facing a team that has not been able to force turnovers. The Jaguars have not forced a turnover since Week 4 when they played the Colts. Brock should be able to let the ball fly in this one because of the Jaguars’ inability to make big plays in the secondary. Also, the Jaguars have not done a great job at pressuring the quarterback. Brock Osweiler should have time to sit in the pocket and let the routes develop. Jacksonville has a solid defense, but Osweiler should be able to exploit their weaknesses for a good game.
JAGUARS PLAYER TO WATCH
Ivory ran for 107 yards on 18 carries last week against Kansas City, which was his season’s best. Expect the same amount of explosion from Ivory in this game. The Texans are ranked 28th in the NFL with 125.8 rushing yards allowed per game. If the Texans cannot improve their run defense Ivory could have another 100+ yard game.
Ivory has had troubles with fumbling the ball this year so he will need to keep that under wraps. The Jaguars should rely on giving the ball to Ivory and not let Bortles throw the ball as much as he has been. A heavy running attack will win the Jaguars this game and it should be led by Chris Ivory.
TEXANS POSITION GROUP PREVIEW
C.J. Fiedorowicz could be the top receiver in this game. He needs to get open and gain some yards for Osweiler as he has in recent games for him.
Brock Osweiler needs to play his best in this game. If he cannot improve on his start to the season, the Texans do not have a good chance to win and that big contract looms larger.
DeAndre Hopkins might be kept quiet in this one as he is matched up with Jacksonville’s rookie phenom CB Jalen Ramsey. Will Fuller, who has been struggling with injuries, plus several others will need to step up.
The defensive line needs to take Ivory down at or near the line of scrimmage. They cannot let him escape out of tackles and power through the second level.
Blake Bortles will most likely make mistakes in this game and the secondary need to capitalize on these potential turnovers ripe for the taking.
GAME PREVIEW ANALYSIS
A loss here will essentially end the season for the Jaguars. They would go to 2-7 and fall further down into the AFC South. The Texans also need to win this game to build their lead in the division. Right now, the AFC South is up for grabs, so a loss here would weaken their 1st place lead. Houston is 2-0 against the AFC South this year, but they have not been able to win on the road. On the other hand, the Jaguars have not been able to win at Everbank Field (their home field). The Jaguars might have the worst record, but the Texans are not the favorite by any means. This one is anyone’s game.
The Texans need a passing attack to win this game. They have the talent to be a successful team and the potential AFC South division winners, but they need to get a passing attack going consistently. Houston averages under 200 passing yards per game. The Jaguars’ defense is about the league average in passing yards allowed per game, so this could be a spot for Brock Osweiler to get going.
For the most part, the running game worked for the Jaguars in their game against the Chiefs. The Jaguars can be successful in this game if they give Chris Ivory 25-30 carries. The play calling and blocking was there for him last week, and if it carries over into this week, he will have another big game. Jacksonville needs to rely less on Blake Bortles and more on Chris Ivory to win this game.
JAGUARS POSITION GROUP PREVIEW
Blake Bortles still needs to work on his overthrows and hopefully can be much more accurate in this game.
Drops are absolutely killing the Jaguars offensive momentum and the wide receivers need to limit them, possibly even without Allen Hurns.
The defensive line did a great job at stopping the run last week against the Chiefs, and will need to do the same to be successful if Chris Ivory gets his touches.
Prince Amukamara needs to step up in his coverage this week. Jalen Ramsey should have DeAndre Hopkins covered, so Amukamara needs to lock down his assignment and limit Osweiler’s options.
The Jaguars have fumbled a punt return in their last three games. They need to stop those costly and inexcusably errors if they want to win and be competitive.