Prepare for some old-fashioned defensive football, as the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) 5th-ranked defense heads to Nrg Stadium to take on the Houston Texans (10-5) and their 6th-ranked defense in Week 17 (December 30, 2018 at 1:00pm EST).
Online sports betting sites have taken notice of these dominant defenses, as they’ve set the game total at just 40, with the Texans opening as 6.5-point favorites.
The strength of the Jaguars’ defense has been defending the pass. Jacksonville is allowing a measly 193.7 yards through the air per game, ranking 2nd in the NFL. Calais Campbell and his team-leading 9.0 sacks have been a major contributor to the cause.
Jacksonville has been so good defending the pass, it has led to them allowing just 19.7 PPG (5th). If there is a way to beat this defense, it’s on the ground. The Jaguars allow 115.7 rushing yards per game (18th).
Hopefully you are not relying on big games from Deshaun Watson (3,931 passing yards and 26 TDs) and DeAndre Hopkins (1,425 receiving yards and 11 TDs) this week. The Texans will likely have to turn to the ground game to find any success against this stingy Jaguars defense.
The Texans’ defense, on the other hand, holds teams to just 20.9 points per game (6th) thanks to their ability to generate takeaways. Houston has generated 25 turnovers this season, the sixth-most in the NFL.
The Eagles were the most recent victims of Houston’s supreme ball-hawking abilities, being forced into two turnovers on the day. Unfortunately, their efforts came in a losing cause, as Philadelphia came out victorious, 32-30.
Blake Bortles will be back under center for Jacksonville for their finale and will need to protect the football. This goes for the whole Jacksonville offense, who have committed 27 turnovers this season (28th). To keep this one close against this tough Texans’ defense, they’ll have to play mistake-free football.
The last meeting between these two came on October 21st, 2018, when Houston shocked Jacksonville 20-7. The Jaguars were 3.5-point favorites in that game.