Week 4 was not kind to the AFC South, with only Tennessee coming away victorious. The Texans and Jaguars both suffered losses, and Houston now sits as the NFL’s only winless team through four weeks. Can the Texans finally find the win column in Jacksonville, or are the Jaguars set to go back over .500?
Let’s make predictions, dive into the depth charts, and take a look at the odds ahead of Sunday’s matchup in Jacksonville.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Odds
The Jaguars enter as 7.5-point home favorites, with the over/under set at 44.5 points. Jacksonville is a heavy favorite on the moneyline at -330.
This might be the first time in years the Jaguars have been favored by a touchdown or more, and it’s no surprise. The Texans haven’t looked totally uncompetitive this season, but you could make the case they’re the worst all-around team in the NFL. Houston made a habit of surprising teams last season, however. Can they keep this competitive?
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Prediction
There are no moral victories, but Sunday’s loss to the Eagles was close to that for Jacksonville. The Jaguars built up a 14-0 lead on the road against one of the best teams in football, and while they couldn’t hold on, the effort was promising.
Trevor Lawrence lost four fumbles in wet conditions, which probably wouldn’t happen again if they played that game 50 more times. Lawrence will be able to take better care of the ball at home, and I expect that the Jaguars’ defense will have a big day against Davis Mills and the Texans after they held Jalen Hurts without a touchdown pass.
This is also a big opportunity for James Robinson after the run game was neutralized pretty well by the Eagles. Houston’s run defense has been brutal this season, allowing 172 rushing yards per game. While the unit helped up well enough against the Chargers’ rushing attack on Sunday, the Jaguars’ best bet to get the offense moving might be Robinson and Travis Etienne in the backfield.
Jacksonville’s run defense has to be better as well. Miles Sanders had one of the best games of his career against this defense on Sunday, and rookie Dameon Pierce is coming off a nice performance against the Chargers for Houston. Mills probably won’t beat the Jaguars on his own. If Pierce can run wild, the Texans at least have a chance. It’s worth noting the unit was much better against the Chargers and Colts, so the Eagles’ offense may just deserve credit for the outburst.
For the most part, the advantage goes to the Jacksonville defense in this one. I anticipate a comfortable Jaguars win and a low-scoring showing by Houston.
- The Texans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against AFC South opponents.
- The Jaguars are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games overall, though two-thirds of those games came before Doug Pederson was hired.
- The under is 5-0 in the Texans’ last five games after a loss. Houston’s offense could be in store for another tough day against a Jaguars defense on the rise.
Houston Texans Injuries: Center Justin Britt remains out due to personal reasons. Tight end Pharaoh Brown is questionable after missing Week 4 with hip and shoulder injuries.
Jacksonville Jaguars Injuries: Receiver Zay Jones is questionable after missing Week 4 with an ankle injury. Edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson is also questionable with an ankle injury. Defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi is day-to-day after suffering a quad injury against the Eagles.
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Texans vs. Jaguars below.
Dameon Pierce vs. Jaguars Run Defense
This is the one area the Texans can potentially exploit the Jaguars’ defense. Jacksonville’s run defense performed well against Jonathan Taylor and shut down the Chargers in Week 3, but the unit was gashed by Miles Sanders this past Sunday. Pierce had a 131-yard rushing performance against the Chargers (buoyed by a 75-yard run) and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry over his last three games. The Texans’ scheme isn’t as well-designed as the Eagles’ offense, plus the Jaguars won’t have to worry too much about the passing game, so I expect a better showing.
Trevor Lawrence vs. Texans Secondary
The Texans’ secondary actually hasn’t been too bad this season, with standout rookies Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre both making a big impact. Week 4 was troubling for the unit. Justin Herbert, who struggled mightily against the Jaguars a week earlier, went 27-of-39 for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns even without Keenan Allen in the fold. The early season results indicate Trevor Lawrence might not have the easiest time against this unit, but this game might tell us a lot about the progress he’s made. Will he play more like Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson, who struggled, or will he rise to the challenge like Herbert did?