Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans: Friday Fact or Fiction


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After a lot of ups and downs, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking at their final game in 2014 and a chance to match their modest 2013 win total. Standing in their way is a Houston Texans team with playoff aspirations, a possible M.V.P in

J.J. Watt

, and a fresh-off-the-street quarterback in

Case Keenum

. The Jaguars don’t really have anything tangible to play for, but we’ve seen over the past 2 seasons that Gus Bradley can get his team up for any game. The Texans need this win, but the Jaguars need it just as badly to validate the work they’ve put in all year.

With all that in mind, here are my rock solid predictions for this week’s game:

Case Keenum will be sacked 2+ times: FACT

In their last meeting in week 14, the Jacksonville Jaguars only managed to sack Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick once. The Jaguars generally have a pretty good pass rush, with their 42 sacks placing them 5th in the entire NFL in that category. When they played the Texans, they were stymied by an effective running game, which was helped out by poor run fits by some of the Jaguars’ young linebackers. With tape to review and some experience, the linebackers and the safeties should do a better job of containing Arian Foster, and the Jaguars should be able to get a little more push on what’s been an improved offensive line. Expect Pro Bowl snub Sen’Derrick Marks to come out and have a big game.

J.J. Watt will have a sack: FICTION

J.J. Watt is the best defensive player in the NFL by a wide margin, and he’s arguably the best overall player in the league. While his stat line from his first meeting with the Jaguars looks impressive (3 sacks, 2 QB hits, 2 QB hurries), he actually didn’t have his best game.

Watt did most of his “damage” on mistakes by the offensive line when no one was blocking him. Luke Joeckel actually stoned him and Sam Young was really the only guy who struggled against him. That being said, it’s still pretty crazy to expect the Jaguars to shut Watt out, but I think they’ll get it done in their final game of the season.

Blake Bortles will throw an interception: FICTION

In his first 7 games, Blake Bortles threw a whopping 13 interceptions, eventually finding himself at the top of the NFL in that dubious statistic. In his past 6 starts, Bortles has cut it down to just 4 interceptions. Blake is starting learn how to read coverages and when to take chances. He still needs to find that balance between being too careful and taking calculated risks, but he’s cut down on the turnovers and it’s led to much more competitive games over the 2nd half of the year. With Case Keenum on the other side of the field, the Jaguars shouldn’t be down big in this game, and Bortles should be able to run this offense methodically and without pressure.

The Houston Texans are playing for their postseason lives and absolutely need to win this game to even have a chance at the playoffs. The Jaguars are firmly entrenched in the top 6 of the 2015 NFL Draft, and a victory seems meaningless in the long run. If the Jaguars under head coach Gus Bradley have shown us anything, it’s that they play their asses off regardless of the overarching implications of the game. It’s the final game of the season, so why not go out on a limb? They are going to march into Houston and end the Texans’ season.

PREDICTION: Jaguars 20 – Texans 13