Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) vs. Houston Texans (8-7)
Sunday, January 3rd, 1:00 PM EST
Kickoff Temperature: 61 degrees, 0% chance of precipitation
Line: Texans by 6.5
It was a season of a few ups and mostly downs for the Jaguars, but they did see a lot of improvement from their young offense. With a win they can double their victory total from last year. Meanwhile the Texans have the AFC South all but clinched, and a win over the Jaguars would make it official. FInd out what the Jaguars need to do to pull off an upset.
Keys to a Jaguars victory:
1. Block Watt. If the Jaguars don't focus their offensive resources on stopping J.J. Watt, he can completely wreck the game. Jacksonville needs to use angles to block him, as well as the quick passing game, which is something they've had limited success with this year.
2. Put the game on Bortles arm. There's no T.J. Yeldon, so if the Jags are going to move the ball it's going to have to be with Blake Bortles and the occasional draw play. Bortles right arm and two legs are the best chance the team has of pulling the upset.
3. Double Hopkins. DeAndre Hopkins has ascended toward the elite at the wide receiver position. He torched the Jaguars in their earlier meeting and he will do the same if they leave Davon House on an island. There's nobody else that's scary on the Houston offense.
4. Pull out the whole bag. This is the last game of the season and the Jaguars have absolutely nothing to lose. Gus Bradley is coming back for next year and that won't change if things go awry on Sunday. Run some trick plays, call some casino blitzes, do something different.
5. Relish the opportunity. This is the Jaguars playoff game. They have a chance to finish 3-3 in the division, which would be a certain step in the right direction. Play hard, like roster spots are on the line...because they are.
What to look for:
1. No pressure from the front-four. Aside from the New England game, the Texans offensive line has held up pretty well this season. The Jaguars will have a difficult time pressuring Brian Hoyer without the aid of blitzes.
2. Bad safety play. We've seen it for 15 games, you'd think we would see it one more time. Jonathan Cyprien and Josh Evans/Sergio Brown are not starting caliber safeties and it's hurt the Jags significantly.
3. Two more TD's from Bortles. Blake Bortles is re-writing the team's record books and you expect him to score touchdowns. What an improvement that is over year's past! The gutsy QB will continue to play well.
4. A-Rob plays well. Allen Robinson gets to play a team with a receiver, albeit deserving, that took the coveted Pro Bowl spot Robinson wanted. He will put on a show this Sunday.
5. The Jags finish 5-11. I'm not completely convinced that the Texans have more talent, but they will win the game. The Texans have been playing pretty well and the Jags find ways to lose. No reason why that should change on Sunday.