Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview and Pick

Note: If you’re
looking for the 2013 Week 14 Thursday night game between these teams, please
go here: Houston
Texans vs. Jacksvonville Jaguars Pick

Houston Texans (0-2) +7.5, 42 O/U at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
-7.5, 42 O/U, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla., 1
PM Eastern, Sunday

by Badger of Predictem.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars look to get their season back on track when
they welcome the Houston Texans into Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Sunday for a key AFC South showdown.

The Jaguars were stunned in their home opener two weeks ago, losing a 20-16 game to the upstart Buffalo Bills as 4-point home favorites.
But they finally got a win on the board last week when kicker Josh
Scobee drilled a 51-yard field goal as time expired to steal a win
away from the Indianapolis Colts on the road.

Not only does Houston come into Sundays game winless, but the entire team is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike back home.
The Texans lost last week at Tennessee, 31-12, but the game was
closer than the score indicates which is a positive despite all of
the distractions theyve been dealing with the past few weeks.

Oddsmakers opened the game with Jacksonville as 7-point home
favorites, but the number shot up quickly to 7.5 at most offshore
sportsbooks, and is even up to 8.5 and 9 at a few other
offshore books. The total opened at 40 but it too is up to 42 at most
books. Early moneyline numbers list the Jags as -350 favorites with
the Texans as +290 underdogs.

With only one win between them, its no surprise that both teams have been struggling on offense so far.

Jacksonville quarterback David Gerrard didnt throw an interception all season last year, but this year he has four through three games
and has only countered with one touchdown toss. Gerrards struggles
are the main reason why the Jags are 24th in total yards (278.3 ypg)
and are also having a hard time putting points on the board (16.3 ppg
26th). The running game of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew is
still strong, rushing at a 122.3 yards per game clip (13th in NFL),
but without a passing game they are forced to beat a lot of 8- and 9-
man fronts.

Houston quarterback Matt Schaub is also having a hard time throwing
balls to the wrong team, as his five interceptions this season and
50.3 quarterback rating has many in Houston calling for his backup
Sage Rosenfels to replace him as the starter. Although its not
entirely Schaubs fault, as the Texans offensive line is once again
perfecting the art of the look-out block by giving up three sacks
last week to Tennessee and five against the Steelers two weeks before.

Rookie running back Steve Slaton had a strong game in his first
career start last week, rushing for 116 yards and a score, but
receiver Andre Johnson only has 141 yards receiving through two games
and has yet to find the end zone. Scoring in general has been a
problem, as the Texans are 28th in the league with just a 14.2 points
per game average.

Defensively the Jaguars are playing the bend-but-dont-break approach
as they are giving up a good amount of yards (14th in total yards –
306.3 ypg; 17th in passing 197.7 ypg and rushing 108.7 ypg), but
they seem to get tougher in the red zone as the are 11th in points
allowed with a 19.3 ppg average.

The Texans defense has been flat-out bad, giving up big play after
big play to rank 30th in the league with a 34.5 points per game
average. The unit will have its work cut out for them this week too,
because their weakness versus the run (27th 168.5 ypg) will most
likely be exploited by the Jaguars on early downs.

Surprisingly, the Texans have had the Jaguars number the past two seasons, winning three of the four head-to-head matchups both
straight up and versus the spread. But the lone Jaguars win in that
string was at home last season, a 37-17 thrashing in early October.
If you go back further in history the Texans are just as strong,
posting a 9-3 ATS record in the last 12 meetings between the two squads.

The Jags are a strong play at home, sporting a 4-1 ATS mark in their
last five at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and a 9-4 ATS mark in
their last 13 games overall. However, the underdog in this series is
5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.

The over is another strong betting trend to watch for, as it has
cashed in 11 of the Jags last 15 games overall, and in 13 of the last
16 games the Texans have played versus AFC South foes. But those
trends contradict the fact that these two teams have stayed under the
total in five of the last six games played in Jacksonville in the
head-to-head series.

Badgers Pick: The Jaguars should be able to run on the Texans, but
their line is still a little banged up (center Brad Meester and guard
Chris Naeole are both listed as questionable) so it may not be as
easy as the stats would indicate. With so much line movement during
the early part of the week I tend to think theres something fishy
with this game, but if you must bet stay with the hot trend and take
the Texans to continue their control over the Jags. Jacksonville
wins, but Houston covers, so take the Texans plus the 7.5 to 9 points.