No doubt the road losses were due primarily to the opponent quality. But what part did competing on the road play?
In my opinion, the road per se was not that big a factor in the Texans losses, but the particular stadiums and home crowds were. Through the years two of the toughest places to play are Foxboro and Denver. The new Minnesota glass palace’s design accentuates the home field advantage, and rabid Vikings fans screaming for a then undefeated team were deafening.
However, playing in Jacksonville is a different deal. The stadium doesn’t magnify sound, the fans that show-up aren’t that enthused and even the die-hard fans, after years of team failure and a 2-6 start, discourage easily. If the Texans get off to a good start they will quickly neutralize any home field advantage.
Talent wise there is not much of an advantage to either team. Both quarterbacks entered the season with high hopes, but each struggled in the first half. Each team’s receivers are highly touted, but the receivers struggled right along with their quarterbacks.
Both teams play good pass defense, and both struggle against the run. To me the difference will be that the Texans have more talented running backs than do the Jaguars. I expect the Texans running game to do damage on its own and open things up for Brock Osweiler and the receivers.
At this point the Jaguars have little to gain and the Texans have everything to lose. Take the points and the over. Texans win 24-21. (In the second half predictions I predicted 24-17, but that was before A. J. Bouye’s ankle injury.)