Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars: Home opener preview, odds and more
By Aarik Long
The Houston Texans look to rebound from a Week 1 loss in their home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s a preview of the games, odds and more.
After a tough loss on Monday night, the Houston Texans look to bounce back in their home opener against their division rivals, the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 at NRG Stadium. This will be their first time facing each other since last December, where the Texans won 20-3 at home. The Texans also hold a 21-13 series lead and a 12-4 record at home in the series.
For the Texans, Week 1 definitely left a lot of fans very optimistic. In a matchup with a Super Bowl contending New Orleans Saints team, the Texans put up a strong fight. It was a back-and-forth matchup that the Saints only won after the Texans left too much time on the clock for possibly one the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Drew Brees, to march his team into field goal range.
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As for the opponents, Jacksonville opened the season at home facing another Super Bowl contender in the Kansas City Chiefs. As expected, the Chiefs won relatively easily. Unexpected however was the shakeup of the quarterback situation for the Jaguars.
After starter, Nick Foles, went down early with a broken collarbone, rookie Gardner Minshew took the reigns and played surprising well. The Washington State product went 22-of-25 passing for 275 yards, two touchdowns, with one interception.
Minshew might be an important piece going into this game as well. We’ll see if he can continue his high level of play against a tougher defense that will likely be focused on Jacksonville’s offensive strength, running-back Leonard Fournette. Without their starting quarterback, Jacksonville will likely have to lean more on their strong rushing attack.
The biggest worry for Houston going in to the game should be protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson looked a little beaten up a couple of times against the Saints as they were able to get into the backfield a few times. To be able to beat Jacksonville this week, the Texans have to stop the pass rush of Jacksonville.
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET (Noon CT) on CBS. Here is more about the game.
Last week, I picked the favorite to cover the spread and boy was I wrong, but I’m taking the same route again this week. I think a 8.0 point spread is too low for a game that the Texans shouldn’t have too much trouble with. The majority of bets placed (60-percent) and money (67-percent) are for the Jaguars to beat the spread, but I don’t believe it will be all that close. The Texans should win by double digits, but it is the NFL and games aren’t played on paper for a reason.
The over/under is a much tougher pick than last week, but I think I’m still going to have to take the over. Once again, I’m going against the public consensus as 66-perent of bets and 87-percent of money is taking the under. The Jaguars defense looked porous last week. I don’t think the Jaguars will put up much against Houston, but they should get a couple of scores, and have just enough to help push that point total over 43.
Touchdown Passses: Gardner Minshew (1.5)
Take the under. Like I said before, the Jags are going to have to focus on a ground attack. When they do go to the air, they’re facing a strong secondary that isn’t going to give up a whole lot. I think Minshew gets one touchdown pass, but that’s it.
Rushing Yards: Leonard Fournette (66)
Again, the Jaguars are likely going to focus on running the ball this week. That bodes well for Fournette, who’s their workhorse back and a dominating one at that. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the LSU product pick up over 100 rushing yards.
The Texans should be fine in their season opener in NRG Stadium. They’ve usually been really good against the Jaguars, especially at home. This year the Jaguars aren’t nearly as good as they have been in the past few years. I believe Jacksonville will put up a bit of a fight, but the Texans will pull away and win with a final score of 32-14.