Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, October 14, 1:00 p.m., Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Kickoff temperature: 79 degrees
Records: Houston 3-2, Jacksonville 3-1
Series notes: Houston leads the all-time series 6-4, including two consecutive wins last season, a 27-7 victory in Reliant Stadium (Houston), and a 13-10 victory in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Entering the 2007 season, the Texans have won just 24 games (24-56 record overall), and one quarter of them have been against the Jaguars. The Texans winning percentage against Jacksonville is .600, and against the rest of the NFL is .257.
Houston offense- 15th overall (25th rushing, 7th passing); Scoring-12th 23.4 vs. Jacksonville defense- 7th overall (15th rushing, 7th passing); Scoring- 2nd 10.3 ppg.
The 2007 version of the Houston Texans is much different than in years past, and it starts at the quarterback position. The Texans finally bailed on the franchise's first draft pick, quarterback David Carr, and traded in the off-season for former Atlanta Falcon, Matt Schaub. Schaub has seemingly made all the difference in the world for the Texans, as he is a leader, has a strong arm, and is mobile enough to get away from trouble.
The Texans will likely try to throw early and often against a Jacksonville defense which has done a fantastic job of stopping the run ever since week two. Schaub's main target is Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson, who has missed the last two weeks with a knee injury, and will likely miss Sunday's contest. Other threats in the passing game for the Texans are tight end Owen Daniels, and wide receivers Andre Davis, Jacoby Jones, and Kevin Walter.
When the Texans run the football, their featured back is former Green Bay Packer, Ahman Green, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury. If Green can't go, former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne will fill in for Green. At this point it is likely that Green and Dayne will split carries.
The Texans will likely try to expose the Jaguars safeties through the deep passing game, as Andre Davis has been playing well in place of Andre Johnson. Last week, Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez had a big game, and the Texans will likely try to go to Schaub's favorite possession guy, Owen Daniels, especially when he's being covered by Sammy Knight.
Defensively, the Jaguars must try and slow down a very explosive Texans passing attack. Even without star wide receiver Andre Johnson, the Texans will still have plenty of speed on the outside with Jacoby Jones and Andre Davis, as well as a big possession guy in tight end Owen Daniels. It is unlikely that an injured Ahman Green and Ron Dayne will get much going on the ground against the Jaguars front seven.
Jacksonville offense- 17th overall (9th rushing, 22nd passing); Scoring-25th 15.8ppg. Vs. Houston defense- 11th overall (9th rushing, 14th passing); Scoring-15th 19.8 ppg.
Defensively, Houston will likely try and stop the Jaguars rushing attack which has been very successful over the last three games. The Texans front four consists of former first round draft picks, Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, Travis Johnson, and former Baltimore Raven, Anthony Weaver. The Texans linebackers are headed by captain, and last season's defensive rookie of the year, DeMeco Ryans, along with Morlon Greenwood and former Jaguar, Danny Clark.
In the secondary for Houston will be star cornerback Dunta Robinson, who will likely match up against the Jaguars number one receiver, Dennis Northcutt, and Demarcus Faggins, who has historically played very well against the Jaguars. The Texans safeties are Michael Boulware and C.C. Brown, who are the weak links of their defense.
The recipe for the recent success that the Jaguars have been enjoying has been simple, "impose your will on your opponent." The Jaguars have faced a lot of eight man fronts over the last three games, and have ran over the opposition. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew seem to be rounding into form, and the offensive line has been doing a much better job of run blocking.
When the Jaguars air it out, it will be from the arm of the NFL's fifth-rated passer in David Garrard. Garrard is playing the best football of his life, and the best Jacksonville has seen since Mark Brunell. Garrard's main target is free agent pickup, Dennis Northcutt, who is the Jags leading receiver with 15 catches. Other receivers for Jacksonville are Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, John Broussard, and Ernest Wilford. The Jaguars have also been going to their tight ends quite a bit lately, and Marcedes Lewis and Greg Estandia combined for six catches and 61 yards against Kansas City last week.
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