Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Note: If you’re looking for the 2012 Week 2 matchup
between these teams, please go here: Houston
Texans vs. Jacksonville Jags Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2, 1-1 ATS) at Houston Texans (1-1, 1-1 ATS)
Reliant Stadium September 25th, 1:00PM Eastern

By Jay Horne of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Jacksonville +4/Houston -4
Over/Under: 47

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A battle between disappointments in the AFC get underway this Sunday from Reliant Stadium. The Jaguars have opened the season with 2 straight losses and will be in jeopardy of dropping to 0-3 as they will be slight underdogs on the road at Houston. The Texans disappointments have simply been their inability to have the breakout season the team feels they can have. However, there is still a lot of football to play this year and the Texans did get a solid win over Tennessee last week 34-31. Still, Houston still needs to backup last week’s win with a victory over Jacksonville if they are to have the season they need to get into playoff contention.

The Jaguars offense has failed to move the ball so far this season. Jacksonville has yet to score over 20 points in a single contest and are only averaging 300 yards of total offense. Perhaps the biggest problem has been their inability to run the ball. Maurice Jones-Drew received some scrutiny following the 2008 season for failing to produce. Jones-Drew has yet to break open a 100 yard performance in his first two games, but is carrying a 4.1 yards per carry average. Still, the Jaguars running back needs some solid performances to help the team have some success on the ground. If that happens, the passing game will be better as well. QB David Garrard is completing just 51% of his passes and has a disappointing 72.7 quarterback rating. With those kinds of numbers from the quarterback and running back, it is obvious why the Jaguars are struggling.

Still, Jacksonville should come out to play very well in attempt to avoid losing 3 straight that scenario may be the reason they are just 4 point dogs. Houston on the other hand is led by a very strong offense. WR Andre Johnson led the NFL in receiving last year with 1,575 yards and 8 touchdowns. Johnson is a big time playmaker on the outside and already has 184 yards in just two games. Also, tight end Owen Daniels is a talented force as well. Daniels caught 70 balls for 862 yards in 2008 and is also off to another solid start. Throwing the ball to these talented receivers is quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub is putting up decent number completing 60% passing and throwing 4 touchdowns to just 1 pick. The Texans passing offense is perhaps one of the most under rated units in the league, but they could make their presence felt against the Jaguars rather week secondary this Sunday.

However, if Jacksonville is win the game it will likely be a defensive type game. The Jaguars battled the Colts offense well holding them to just 14 points even though they were only able to manage 12 on offense. Still, their defensive front has held teams to just 191 yards on the year. The guys up front have had problems getting to the quarterback and this is a big concern. To be flat honest, the Jaguars do not have the players in the secondary to defend the Texans receivers. The Jaguars have just 1 sack on the season and if they do not get pressure on Schaub, it will be another disappointing day.

The Texans defense is hoping for some improvement this year. Despite giving up 122 yards per game on the ground last season and ranking 22nd overall in 2008, Houston should be improved this season. The reasons for that improvement include the addition of DE Antonio Smith and drafting DE Connor Barwin and OLB Brian Cushing. These young guys should make the group much more solid and give the Texans more depth. Thus far in the year, Houston has not lived up to the expectations allowing more yards than any team in the league at 450ypg. The Texans have allowed those numbers against some big time offenses, but they will have a chance to get those numbers back down if they can control the Jacksonville offense this weekend.

Jay’s Pick – Houston picks on the Jaguars secondary and cruises. Take Houston -4