Houston Texans (5-3 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6 SU, 4-4 ATS)
Week 10 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: HOU -1.5/JAX +1.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The Houston Texans come to EverBank Stadium to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in AFC South action on Sunday. This is the first division meeting of these teams this season. Houston leads the division at 5-3 and looks to add to it this week. A nifty home win over the Lions led into the bye week. After two wins to open the season, the Texans have alternated wins and losses since. They look to get it done on the road in what be a tougher spot than some are forecasting. The Jaguars lost their third in row with a 19-14 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. They're hoping for better at home.
The Texans have struggled on the road this season. At home, their defense gets the job done, while the offense pecks away effectively. On the road, they have just looked flat. In three road games this season, they've scored a combined 22 points—one TD and five field goals. Anyone who had money on Houston in those games will attest that those were hard games to watch. Maybe with the bye week and the fact they're facing Jacksonville will see them in better form this upcoming Sunday.
The Houston offense is pretty much a hit-and-miss group. Brock Osweiler will prove to be an upgrade over what they've had under center in recent seasons. But that doesn't mean every performance is going to be a gem. DeAndre Hopkins is undoubtedly a fine receiver, but when on his own, it's not terribly easy for him to make a major impact. Rookie Will Fuller (questionable) opened the season with a pair of 100-yard games, but injuries have seemed him cool down considerably. And that's how they're ranked 30th in passing. The run-game is a little more on-point. Lamar Miller is erratic, but his contributions have been key. Alfred Blue has been chiming in to help. For a team to be 5-3 with the league's 31st ranked scoring at an anemic 17.1 points per game speaks well of the defense.
The Houston "D" is a difference-making group. They can play clutch ball and make key stops. They're not getting a ton of turnovers, but they're getting good play from most phases of this unit. Teams struggle somewhat in launching their aerial prowess against this bunch and perhaps as a result, what they allow against the rush is a bit inflated. They're mean up-front with Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercillus, and Vince Wilfork (questionable). Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney are forces in the middle. And guys like Kareem Jackson, AJ Bouye, Andre Hal, Corey Moore (questionable) and others have kept the secondary cruising along nicely. Houston's "D" hasn't had it easy with injuries and lost their lynchpin in JJ Watt for the season earlier in the campaign. They're also hoping the bye helps some banged-up guys get back closer to full-power.
Houston is a hard team to figure out. You see the injuries, the lack of overall offensive firepower, an erratic Osweiler, and a defense that gives up 3 more points per game than what they score. But at 5-3, that's what speaks loudest. And after winning the division last season, it's clear their success is no mirage or accident. They're just a very resourceful and well-coached team that gets the most of what they have. A lot of teams with a similar caliber of personnel are overturned on their backs, while Houston is making playoff pushes. You have to be careful of teams that have a knack for surpassing what you expect. Those are teams that are doing something right.
In their third straight loss on Sunday to the Chiefs, the Jags were in the game against a Kansas City team that was dealing with some injuries on offense. With the Chiefs missing their QB, RB, and losing players during he game, The Jaguars were able to show some defensive prowess. And at the end of the day, the Jaguars had 25 first downs opposed to ten for the Chiefs. They outgained Kansas City in total yardage 449-231. But 4 Jacksonville turnovers and a general lack of offensive continuity prevented them from really making a serious push to win the game.
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With the Jaguars, there is a definite chasm between potential and production and with actual point-scoring. On Sunday, they got a 107-yard performance from Chris Ivory and over 200 yards rushing, with Blake Bortles going over 250 yards. And still, with just over 4 minutes left in the final quarter, they had managed just 7 points. And this is not an isolated situation, as the Jaguars always struggle to convert signs of promise into points.
The defense experiences some of the same things the offense deals with in terms of the lack of bottom-line results. They are ranked 5th against the pass and have the 11th overall ranked defense in terms of total yardage, but they're 25th in points allowed. The offense gets the absolute least out of what it has and perhaps partially as a result, the defense is following suit. But let's not forget to acknowledge the fact that Houston has appeared to be a diminished force on the road, losing in lopsided fashion in all three of their road games. I'm taking the home dog.
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