Game: Houston Texans (5-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6)
Outlook: Before the season, this looked like it could be a very important game in the AFC South. It might be a contest that determined who was the front runner for the division. This game does take on a certain amount of importance, but for different reasons.
This game is essentially the Jaguars season. If they win, they still have at least a chance, however slim. If they lose, they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
The Jags were looked at as a breakout candidate this season with what looked like an improving young team led by a fearless quarterback. Instead, this is just the latest edition of a terribly run franchise with a bloated payroll and a team so bad they have to turn their stadium into a social club to get people to show up (yes, they had to put a pool in). The clock is ticking on Gus Bradley, who should be gone after the season if not sooner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were the coach next year because of how badly the team is run.
Anyways, onto the game. The Texans are 0-3 on the road this season but this is a prime chance for that first road win. The Jaguars had built up a solid run defense last year that has regressed this year (though the pass defense got much better). So I would expect Lamar Miller to have a big day. Unfortunately I do not expect the same for DeAndre Hopkins, who had a huge game in Jacksonville last season.
If the Jaguars are to have a chance in this game, Blake Bortles must exploit the Texans banged up secondary. However I’m sure he is having nightmares about the Texans, who picked him off five times last season and are responsible for the only game since the start of 2015 that he has not thrown a touchdown pass. It’s also interesting that Chris Ivory got going last week against Kansas City, it’s what they have needed to complement Bortles all year.
I think the Jaguars keep it close, but in a high scoring game the Texans pull it out with a late pick six from breakout corner A.J. Bouye.
Prediction: Houston: 31, Jacksonville: 27