(4-4, 3-5 ATS)
(4-4, 4-4 ATS)
One of the AFC South’s biggest rivalries will be showcased on Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State, as the Houston Texans face off with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Texans really could be playing for their lives in the playoffs and for the goodwill of their head coach Gary Kubiak as well. Last week’s heartbreaking loss to the San Diego Chargers was devastating due to the fact that Houston fell into a tie for last place in the AFC South instead of being part of the tie for first place. RB Arian Foster leads the league in rushing this year, and the argument could be made that he is the league’s MVP as well. Foster has rumbled for 864 yards and nine TDs this year, and he has caught another 32 passes for 315 yards with a TD. If you prorate out Foster’s season for the rest of the year, not even including the half of football he was suspended for by Kubiak, the University of Tennessee star would have nearly 400 total touches on the campaign. QB Matt Schaub needs to pick up the slack as well, as he has just ten TD passes on the season against seven picks. However, WR Andre Johnson has been battling injuries all season long, but still leads the squad with 43 catches, 635 yards, and three TDs.
The Jags have an absolutely dreadful defense that was the first to allow at least 200 points in total this season. Now, this ‘D’ ranks No. 28 in the league in total defense at 386.2 yards per game and No. 30 in scoring at 28.2 points per game. To make matter worse, DE Aaron Kampman tore his ACL this week and will be out for the rest of the campaign. Offensively, QB David Garrard has been respectable this year, throwing for 1,098 yards and 13 TDs in just seven games. Though his passing yardage total is a tad low, it is important that he continues to give at least some help to RB Maurice Jones-Drew who, much like Foster, is on pace for nearly 400 touches for the season. Jones-Drew is also one of the top rushers in the league at 645 yards, but he only has one TD on the year, something that is very uncharacteristic for one of the best goal line backs in the league. Jacksonville ranks No. 18 in the NFL in scoring at 20.6 points per game, but one must remember that it has been dealt a ton of injuries over the course of the campaign on that side of the ball.
Jacksonville has never had much luck with the Texans in spite of the fact that it swept the season series last year. The Jags need this one as bad as Houston does though, and though it might require a tremendous point total to get the job done, we tend to think that the hosts are going to figure it out and put Houston in the gutter in this division by itself.
NFL Free Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars -1