Jaguars vs Texans: Monday Night Preview

The Jaguars continued their disappointing season as they were smashed at home by Minnesota, 30-12, despite outgaining the Vikings by nearly 100 yards. The Texans got back on the winning track by shutting down Cleveland's offense in a 16-6 road victory.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Monday, December 1, 2008, 8:30 p.m.
Reliant Stadium

Records: Jacksonville 4-7, Houston 4-7

Series history: Texans lead, 7-6. Last meeting, Jaguars won 30-27 in overtime in Jacksonville.

Houston offense 4th overall (4th passing, 14th rushing); Scoring- 18th – 22.9 ppg. vs. Jacksonville defense 14th overall (14th passing, 19th rushing); Scoring- 14th- 21.8 ppg.

The Texans offense is led by backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels who has a good arm, but will throw into coverage. In four starts this season for the injured Matt Schaub, Rosenfels has completed 68% of his throws for 1231 yards, five touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has a quarterback rating of 79.1.

Steve Slaton is quickly becoming one of the best backs in the league as he has run for 774 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, with six rushing touchdowns in his rookie year. He's added 198 yards on 32 receptions with a touchdown.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league and he has 81 receptions for 1071 yards with three touchdowns already this season. Kevin Walter is Rosenfels second choice as he's caught 47 passes for 667 yards and seven scores. Tight end Owen Daniels is one of the most underrated players at his position in the game as he's caught 48 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jaguars front four has had major issues rushing the passer this year as rookies Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves haven't contributed much, and Paul Spicer and Reggie Hayward are on the down sides of their careers. The interior of the Jags defensive line has been underwhelming this season as John Henderson isn't the player he once was, and the combo of Tony McDaniel, Rob Meier, and Derek Landri are little more than average.

The Jaguars linebackers were supposed to be a strength this season, but have also underachieved. The unit has been better since middle linebacker Mike Peterson was moved to the bench, and Daryl Smith has slid to the middle position, but they've missed far too many tackles.

The Jags secondary has been disappointing, but has played much better lately since Brian Williams was moved from strong safety back to cornerback. Rashean Mathis is playing at a high level, but free agent acquisition Drayton Florence has been terrible, and was moved from starting corner to nickel. Safety Reggie Nelson has an aversion to contact, and he's found himself out of position several times this season.

Best offensive matchup for Houston: Andre Johnson vs. Brian Williams- Johnson is among the handful of best wide receivers in the league and Williams will have a difficult time covering him.

Best defensive matchup for Jacksonville: John Henderson vs. Mike Brisiel- Henderson is having a down year, but he will still cause problems for the Texans interior offensive line.

Jacksonville offense 21st overall (17th passing, 18th rushing); Scoring- 24th 20.4 ppg. vs. Houston defense 19th overall (13th passing, 23rd rushing); Scoring- 27th – 26.6 ppg.

The Jaguars offense has a threat of a great running game, but teams have neutralized the talented duo of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor by placing extra men in the box and mostly playing cover one. Jones-Drew leads the team in rushing with 503 yards while averaging 4.3 ypc., with 11 touchdowns. Taylor has 436 yards while getting just 3.6 ypc.

Quarterback David Garrard is looking more and more like a one-year wonder as he tends to hold the ball too long, looks at his first read then checks down, and hasn't been particularly careful with the football. Garrard has completed 62.8% of his throws for 2461 yards, but has just nine touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He hasn't been strong enough to get opposing teams to keep their safeties away from the line of scrimmage.

The Jags best receiving threat is wide receiver Matt Jones, who has 54 catches for 623 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is second on the team with 40 catches for 393 yards, and tight end Marcedes Lewis has 26 catches for 347 yards and two touchdowns.

The Texans have one of the best defensive ends in the game in Mario Williams, who registered 14 sacks a year ago, and has 8 sacks already this year to go along with 35 tackles. Amobi Okoye is a dominant player inside, and Travis Johnson and Anthony Weaver have been solid.

Although the Texans lost linebacker Zac Diles for the season with a broken leg, they still have middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans who leads the team with 79 tackles. Morlon Greenwood has been solid, and rookie Xavier Adibi has played well in his limited spots.

Cornerback Dunta Robinson is back from his knee injury and the Texans secondary has played better. Fred Bennett and Jacques Reeves have been picked on quite a bit early this year, but have been better since Robinson's return.

Best offensive matchup for Jacksonville: Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Xavier Adibi- If the Jaguars can get Jones-Drew more involved in the passing game on the outside, they should have a nice advantage.

Best defensive matchup for Houston: DeMeco Ryans vs. David Garrard- The Jaguars love to throw the slant pattern and look for Ryans to drop back in coverage and make some plays if Garrard isn't careful.

Special Teams

Houston: PK Kris Brown, P Matt Turk, LS Bryan Pittman, KOR Andre Davis, PR Jacoby Jones

Jacksonville: PK Josh Scobee, P Adam Podlesh, LS Joe Zelenka, KOR Brian Witherspoon, PR Brian Witherspoon

Special teams advantage: The Jaguars have a much better coverage unit, and possibly the more dangerous return men. Houston has a better punter and kicker. Special teams seems to tilt slightly in the Jaguars favor.

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