Jaguars face the Texans: Three bold predictions

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 30: A Jacksonville Jaguars fan as seen during the game against the New York Jets on September 30, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 30: A Jacksonville Jaguars fan as seen during the game against the New York Jets on September 30, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The last time the Jacksonville Jaguars faced the Houston Texans, quarterback Blake Bortles was benched in the second half of a 20-7 loss.

The quarterback carousel of the Jacksonville Jaguars continues to spin as the team announced on Wednesday that Blake Bortles would be under center for the final game of the season against the Houston Texans.

In October, Bortles was ineffective, fumbled the ball twice and was benched in the second half in favor of Cody Kessler in a 20-7 loss at home. Now, the fifth-year starter is replacing his replacement, with the final game of 2018 only a few hours away.

Citing that he felt the change for this week would give Jacksonville the best chance to win the game on Sunday, head coach Doug Marrone told the media Wednesday afternoon of his decision. At 5-10 and pushing through one of the most disappointing seasons in team history, Jacksonville has a chance to disrupt the Texans season.

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Houston is still playing for playoff positioning and a possible first-round bye if everything falls into place. A loss on Sunday ends those kinds of hopes.

Bortles came off the bench last Sunday to rally the team to a 17-7 win over Miami, knocking them out of the playoff hunt. The Jaguars have pride to play for. Houston wants to keep the momentum moving toward the postseason.

Here are three bold predictions for Sunday.

Blake Bortles throws for 300 yards in a victory – I don’t think the Jaguars running game will get anything going against J.J. Watt and the Texans defense. Marrone told the media on Friday the Jaguars will be playing in a hostile environment in Houston.

Per information released by the Jaguars public relations department, if Bortles tosses a 300-yard game, he will have registered his 21st career game with at least 300 passing yards, the second-most in franchise history.

He is now one 300-yard passing game short of quarterback Mark Brunell’s franchise record (22 games) for the most such games in Jaguars history.

It would be a solid way to end his career in Jacksonville (if he is released) to throw for a record-setting day.

Returning Engagement – The Jaguars have wasted the efforts of Dede Westbrook this season, who has been a spark in the passing game and has been stout in the return game the past two weeks.

Westbrook has caught 63 passes for 707 yards and five touchdowns this year and has one punt return of 74 yards for a score. What if he did it again? He had a 44-yard punt return that he almost broke for a score last week against Miami.

"Per, “Westbrook’s 15.6 punt return avg. is the highest among players in the NFL this season with at least 15 returns and he could become the second Jaguar in franchise history (WR Rashad Greene Sr., 16.7 avg. in 2015) to average at least 15.0 yards per attempt with at least two punt returns.”"

Watch him score on a pass play and a punt return this week.

Two defensive touchdowns – Telvin Smith intercepted a pass and score the touchdown that put the game away last Sunday in Miami.

"As David Wolf wrote, Smith, “Notched the third pick-six of his career in the Jaguars’ Week 16 victory against Miami, becoming the first LB in franchise history to return three INTs for TDs and second overall player (CB Rashean Mathis) to accomplish the feat in franchise history.”"

Leonard Fournette listed as doubtful for Sunday at Houston. dark. Next

This week, Smith or someone else on the defense does it again. If the offense sputters, then the other side of the ball will make the plays necessary for a win, which will include two touchdowns from the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL.