The Houston Texans are a top the AFC with a record of 8-1, going into this weeks game it is important that the Texans remember this is a divisional battle. While the Jags do own a share of the NFL’s worst record at 1-8 the Texans have to know that every game within the division is very important. With the Colts sitting at a record of 6-3 the Texans can’t afford to fall asleep at the wheel this week and let an important divisional win slip away. Like many others I call these games trap games, Texans RB Arian Foster had this to say about so called trap games: “I don’t even know who invented that term. They obviously never played in the NFL before. Jacksonville is a talented team and we’re focused.”
Last time these 2 teams met the Houston Texans RB combo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate gained almost 200 combined yards and on the ground and the Texans held the ball for 43 minutes of the 60 minute game. The Jags will be looking to stop them yet again this week, with Ben Tate now healthy and making his return to the team after missing the last couple games. Also returning is TE Owen Daniels and who missed the last game against the Bears with a hip injury. Daniels will be very important this week as will fellow TE Garrett Graham who should factor into this game early through play action passes and crossing routes over the middle of the field. Daniels had 6 catches for 47 yards and no scores last game against the Jags. I expect this to change with the added focus on stopping the Texans RB duo. Last game the Jags played a lot of deep coverage in order to slow the attempts to WR Andre Johnson down field which allowed the Texans to run the ball at will with no help at the line of scrimmage from the defense. While it did work in terms of stopping Johnson who only had 3 catches for 21 yards, the 4 man fronts and not blitzing hurt the Jags immensely as the Texans were able to hold the ball for basically the whole game. Texans QB Matt Schaub threw the ball 35 times and completed 26 of them. He only threw for 195 yards as the Jags gave him short underneath routes all game and complete and ridiculous 74% of his passes. If the Jags have any hope of stopping the run they’ll have to come out their shell defense and put extra people at the line of scrimmage to stop the run and attempt to confuse Schaub and the Texans at the line of scrimmage on offense.
The last time these 2 teams met the Texans blew out the Jags 27-7 and only allowed the Jags to gain 117 total yards of offense and the only TD that the Texans did allow was on a swing pass to now injured RB Maurice Jones-Drew. The Texans will still have the same plan of attack that they had during the 1st meeting between themselves and the Jags, stop the run and make 2nd year QB Blaine Gabbert to make quick decisions against a pass rush that has given other young QB’s fits all year long. The defense will be on a mission to get after Blaine Gabbert, and stop whatever the Jags put in front of them on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. The last time these 2 met the Houston Texans defense played almost a perfect game. That was a defensive unit that was completely healthy at the time. Now the Texans are without ILB Brian Cushing and others aren’t 100% after missing some action in the last weeks game, like NT Shaun Cody. This should make for a challenge on the field this week as ILB Bradie James is new to the division and might not have as familiar of a feel for what Gabbert and the Jags offense will want to do on Sunday as he calls the plays on the defensive side of the ball. Stopping the run will be defensive coordinator Wade Phillips 1st priority and the rest should fall into place against a team that has allowed 21 sacks and have 8 lost fumbles this season already.