Coming off win over Colts, Texans looking for season sweep of Jaguars
Photo Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP Photo
The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars meet for the second time this season on Sunday. The last time they played each other, just over a month ago, the Texans won, 24-21. They’re looking to sweep the Jaguars and continue their playoff push.
The Texans have a couple of positives going for them. First, the Jaguars have lost eight straight games; they’re 2-11 in the season, last in the AFC South. They’re not good.
Second, Houston got a huge win last week against the Indianapolis Colts, which left them in control of the AFC South (well, tied with the Tennessee Titans). Now, the Texans aren’t an amazing team. Their $72 million gamble on quarterback Brock Osweiler hasn’t really done much for them. Under him, the Texans are averaging 190 yards passing per game (30th in the NFL); Osweiler has also thrown the same number of touchdowns as interceptions (14).
But last week they won thanks to Lamar Miller’s running and a strong defense that forced three turnovers. They ran the ball 33 times for 181 yards. Even though Miller got injured, he still managed to run for 83 yards on 15 carries. According to Coach Bill O’Brien, the running game is even more important near the end of the season and in the playoffs – and the Texans are proving they can run with the best of them.
“I think that we’re always, especially this year, we’re always going to try to run the football. That’s kind of what our identity is on offense,” O’Brien said. “I’m not saying that we can do it the same way we did it. Some of those runs that we had against Jacksonville in the first game were our bread-and-butter runs. Some of them were stuffed. We got to do a better job on those runs.”
The Jaguars’ plan
Jacksonville knows it’s not going to the playoffs. I mean, come on – 2-11. Even if they win their last three games, they’ve still had a pretty awful season. However, upsetting the Texans this week would hurt Houston’s playoff chances. They deny that’s what they want to do, however, saying instead that they want to use these games to improve and set a good tone for next season.
”I don’t think ‘spoiler’ is the right word to use,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. ”I think you want to get the chance to say, ‘How are we against one of these playoff teams and (how do we) stack up?’ You really don’t want to talk about it or think about it, but let’s build something going into the offseason for next year.”