Sunday, September 28, 2008, 1:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
Records: Houston 0-2, Jacksonville 1-2
Series history: Houston leads 7-5.
Last season: Teams split.
Five most important things for the Jaguars:
1. Jaguars must run the football. The Texans are 27th in the league against the run and the Jaguars obvious strength is running the football. If Jacksonville can run on Houston just as Pittsburgh and Tennessee did, they should cruise.
2. Utilize the play-action passing game. The Texans will likely load up the line of scrimmage with defenders and if the Jaguars can establish a strong running attack, they will be able to take shots downfield from play-action against the struggling Houston secondary.
3. Limit big plays. The Jaguars can grind it out offensively and control the clock and the line of scrimmage all they want, but if they allow guys like Andre Johnson and Andre Davis to run free down field, their game plan won't work.
4. No bad interceptions. David Garrard threw a shot the Texans way this week and now he has to back it up. He's made some really bad errors this season and he needs to have a plus touchdown to interception game.
5. Pressure Schaub. The last thing the struggling Matt Schaub needs is more pressure. If the Jaguars can knock Schaub around, he will make mistakes.
Five most important things for the Texans:
1. Texans must stop the run. The Jaguars have not yet proved they can throw the ball downfield effectively so Houston must force them to throw the ball. It doesn't matter if they put 8, 9, 10, or 11 guys in the box to do it, they must force the Jaguars away from their strength.
2. Playmakers make plays. Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton, and Owen Daniels need to step up and make plays. The Jaguars defense has been susceptible against big plays, especially on Drayton Florence's side and Houston needs to make some plays if they want to pull the upset.
3. Protect Schaub. The Texans offensive line must protect Matt Schaub if he's going to bounce back from his streak of bad play.
4. Allow 3's, not 7's. Both offenses have had major problems in the red zone, and if the Texans can force field goals instead of touchdowns, they can win this game.
5. Win special teams. The Jaguars special teams coverage units are great, but Houston showed a year ago that they can pull off some big returns. The Texans must win in every facet of special teams.
What to look for:
1. Look for David Garrard to have a 100+ QB rating. Garrard talked the talk, now it's time to walk the walk. We believe Garrard has been getting incrementally better each week and he will be up to the task on Sunday.
2. Look for a touchdown by Owen Daniels. Daniels is one of the better tight ends in the league and he will have a matchup advantage against any of the Jaguars linebackers.
3. Look for a touchdown by either Marcedes Lewis or Mike Walker. Walker will be more involved in the offense this week as should Lewis. One of them should find paydirt.
4. Look for Reggie Williams to get 60+ receiving yards. Williams has struggled a bit this season and this is the perfect setting for a breakout game. Is 60 yards a breakout game? It is for the Jaguars wide receivers.
5. Look for lots of runs to the perimeter by Houston. That seems to be the formula for success against the Jaguars defense this year, and if Steve Slaton can find a crease, he can make the Jags pay.