The meeting between a 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars team and their AFC South rivals, the 2-8 Houston Texans has more implications than you might think. While the Jaguars were expected to be at the bottom of the division this time of year, the Texans were supposed to be fighting for a division title and possibly a Super Bowl berth. Now, both team are hoping there is an end to the madness of the 2013 season so both teams can plan for 2014.
Houston must find a solid running attack now that team leading rusher Arian Foster is out for the season with back surgery.
Backup and replacement Ben Tate will play, but he is nursing broken ribs. It shall be interesting to see how the Texans use Tate and rely heavily on the passing game.
Speaking of the passing game, it is assumed that Gary Kubiak will go with Matt Schaub this week after he replaced Case Keenum in the loss last week against Oakland. It is hard to decipher how a tea with such a strong defense like Houston can have such a poor offense.
The Jaguars will go with Chad Henne again behind center and look to find Cecil Shorts more often in the passing game. Shorts voiced his displeasure in the loss to Arizona where he only had two catches.
This is a game that – if the Jaguars win – could move them out of the cellar of the AFC South and possibly give Houston the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Here are three bold predictions for this game…
Cecil Shorts proves a point
After going off on the offensive game plan following Sunday’s 27-14 loss to Arizona, look for the team’s leading receiver to get a steady diet of balls thrown his way.
“I meant what I said; I’m not going to back down from it,” he said in the Florida Times-Union. “I just know I want to help the team win. That’s my biggest thing. I want to help the team improve and get better and I feel I can do that by getting the ball. However they want to do it, we’ll figure out a way to make it happen.”
Look for Shorts to have a Justin Blackmon-like day with 12 catches and 150 yards.
Four sacks for Jeremy Mincey
We are still waiting for a pass rush to appear for this team. Since the offense is fluttering, look for Jeremy Mincey to have a huge day and cause issues for the Texans, no matter who the quarterback is.
Mincey will have four sacks and the pressure up the middle will cause issues for the interior line of the Texans.
Todman is fifth Jaguars score on blocked punt and kickoff return
Will Blackmon will have another solid game on defense and on the special teams side. Watch him return one kick for a score and possible two if a punt is blocked. Ace Sanders, who was drafted to help in the return game could get in on the action.
The one thing the Jaguars have done of late is perform well on special teams.
Punter Bryan Anger is sixth in punts inside the 20 (21) and net average (41.5) and ninth in gross average (41.5). Jordan in kickoff turns of 20-plus yards (17) and third in AFC ad fifth in NFL kickoff return average (28.3).