As the Monday Night Football loss in New Orleans fades from memory, your Houston Texans are looking ahead to this week’s divisional match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This looked to be an exciting game with Nick Foles facing off against the phenom, Deshaun Watson, but then this happened. The loss of Foles rocked the Jaguars’ fan base, but both fans are reportedly shaking it off and moving on.
Some facts for you to chew on before Sunday’s game at NRG Stadium:
- This game marks the 33rd time the division opponents have squared off, with Houston holding a 20-12 lead over the Jags in the series.
- Houston has won the last two meetings. Based on Week One, that streak should extend that lead to three straight wins.
- Houston head coach Bill O’Brien is 8-2 against the Jaguars, while Jags coach Doug Marrone is 2-3 against his buddy’s team.
- Without Nick Foles under center, the Jaguars are forced to turn to rookie QB Gardner Minshew, who put up 275 yards against the Chiefs last week in an all-out effort to keep from getting blown out by Kansas City. Unfortunately for the Jags, they still got blown out.
- Minshew completed 22 of 25 passes last week, connecting on his first 13 passes, an NFL record for a rookie debut.
- Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette was held to only 66 yards on the ground last week, quite possibly due to the team playing from behind and needing an air attack to try and keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
- Houston’s leading rusher so far is newly added former Chief Carlos Hyde, who seems to fit the Houston offense like a glove, splitting time with RB1 Duke Johnson but still amassing 83 yards, good for an 8.3 yard per carry average.
- When the Texans and Jags met last, in Week 17 of the 2018 season, Houston won 20-3, clinching their third AFC South Division Title in four years.
- Jaguars wideout D.J. Chark was the recipient of four of the Jags’ passes last week, going 146 yards and a touchdown. Shutting him down will be the responsibility of whomever the Texans raise up to replace recently cut slot corner Aaron Colvin.
- On the other side, it’s no surprise that DeAndre Hopkins was the main receiving target of Deshaun Watson, catching 8 passes for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns in the team’s opener against New Orleans.
- When the teams last met, Watson and Hopkins connected for a career high 12 catches and 147 yards. If Hopkins catches at least seven passes this weekend, it will be his fifth straight home game against Jacksonville with 7+ catches – which has to be some sort of record.
- Last week’s Jaguars had zero sacks, while the Texans’ Whitney Mercilus is the only player to get to Drew Brees on opening night. Expect that number to rise on both sides this weekend; Houston gave up six sacks to the Saints and the Jags gave up just one to the Chiefs.
- Houston’s offensive line remains a weakness, but J.J. Watt has always excelled against rookie quarterbacks. Watt and Mercilus have combined for 14.5 sacks against the Jaguars in NRG Stadium.
What are you expecting? Give us some predictions (score, yards, turnovers, sacks, etc.) in the comments box.
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Author: Mike Bullock