The Houston Texans (3-3) will head to Tiaa Bank Field to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) in Week 7 (October 21, 2018 at 1:00pm EST). The Texans opened as 5-point underdogs.
The Texans are averaging a lackluster 22.5 points per game (21st). But they could easily solve this if they’d just stop turning the ball over. Houston has committed 11 turnovers this season (24th), which includes three last week against the Bills.
Misguided Deshaun Watson passes have produced an intolerable seven of those giveaways. But even with the high number of interceptions thrown, Watson is still posting a passer rating of 90.8. So it’s hard to get too upset with him.
Nevertheless, ball security will be vital for Watson and the Texans over the remainder of the year.
Houston’s defense prides themselves on stopping the run. They only spot their opponent 95.8 rushing yards per game (10th), compared to 245.8 through the air (14th).
The Texans’ stinginess against the run has led to them allowing only 22.8 points per game (11th).
Fortunately, Houston’s defense avoids any sort of offensive juggernaut this week, when they line up across from the Jaguars. Jacksonville is scoring just 18.2 points per game (29th).
They would have a much easier time finding the end zone, though, if they’d just quit turning the ball over as well.
Jacksonville has already committed 14 turnovers this season, which is the second-most in the league. This kind of carelessness with the football is no recipe for success, as the Jaguars are currently discovering.
Errant Blake Bortles passes have resulted in eight of those giveaways. But he doesn’t have the strong passer rating to distract his critics, as he’s sporting an 81.1 rating this season.
The coaching staff must find a way to improve ball security to get this offense going, especially this week against a Texans’ defense that ranks 13th in takeaways. The answer is likely taking the ball out of Bortles’ hands more often.
The acquisition of Carlos Hyde from the Browns will certainly help out in that initiative. But it’s unlikely the back will suit up in Week 7.
On the other side of the ball, Jacksonville’s defense has been great. They’re permitting just 21 PPG, ranking ninth in the NFL. The Jaguars’ first-ranked pass defense deserves a lot of the credit for their success as a unit, as they surrender just 187.8 passing yards per game.
The Texans would be smart to try and get Lamar Miller and the ground game going early this week.
Jacksonville hammered Houston, 45-7, the last time these two teams played, which was December 17th, 2017. The Jaguars were also 10.5-point favorites in that game.