Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston -3 @ Jacksonville — O/U 42.5
These two teams squared off just eleven days ago in week 12, with the Jaguars upsetting the Texans as 10.5-point dogs at Reliant Stadium. On that day, quarterback performance dictated the outcome — Case Keenum posted a 54.7 NFL QB Rating, while Chad Henne completed 72% of his passes including 11 air first downs. There are several key factors at play in the re-match:
1. Ben Tate was clearly feeling his cracked ribs that day, rushing for a single yard on just seven carries. Last week versus New England Tate ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns. A rejuvenated Tate is critical for Houston to finish the season respectably.
2. Standing at 2-9, facing off with the Patriots last week on their home field was essentially the Texans ‘Super Bowl’. They squandered a two-score halftime lead and couldn’t muster the requisite drive late in the fourth quarter. How much is left in the tank? Where will the motivation come from?
3. The Jaguars are playing their tails off for first-year head coach Gus Bradley. They’ve won 3 of their last 4 games, all on the road. Jacksonville is battling to build confidence for the future, and young talents are playing to sustain roles going forward.
Prediction: The Texans squeak out a 24-23 victory, but fail to cover. Rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins puts together a big game on the outside.