Jacksonville Jaguars 0-0 (0-0 ATS) at Houston Texans 0-0 (0-0 ATS)
When and Where: Sunday, Sept. 10, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas 1:00pm EDT (CBS)
Spread; Houston -5.5; Total: 39.5
Hearts are heavy in the city of Houston right now, and the main focus is not necessarily on football. That is exactly what will be played on Sunday, however, as the Jaguars come into the storm-ravaged town to take on the Texans at NRG Stadium. There were talks of postponing or moving the game, but the decision was ultimately made to go ahead as previously planned. Their final preseason game vs. Dallas was canceled and the squad finished with a 1-2 mark while Jacksonville finished the preseason at 2-2. The AFC South foes have met 30 times previously, with Houston holding a 19-11 all-time edge.
Jaguars Just Trying to Get Better
Jacksonville enters the season hoping to avoid their 10th consecutive year of missing the playoffs. The team has won just 15 games the last four years, which would make for an amazing single season, just not anything to write home to Mom about over a four-year span. Doug Marrone is the new man at the helm, having coached out the last two game a season ago as the interim coach. Whether or not he can get Bortles and the Jags offense going remains to be seen.
Blake Bortles has been a serious disappointment The UCF alum has had some bright spots, but the reality is that most of the good numbers he puts up come late in in the second half after the affair has been well decided. Bortles almost lost his starting job to Chad Henne in the preseason, and just this week was stripped of his captaincy. Tom Coughlin, who coached the Jaguars in the team’s early years, was brought into the team’s front office in the offseason, and his expertise will certainly be needed if any kind of turnaround is expected.
Texans Trying to Repeat
The Houston defense has been one of the most feared units in the National Football League the last several years, and one of the big reasons why is J.J. Watt. Watt, however, has had trouble staying healthy the last couple of seasons, including last year when the defensive end missed 13 games. Head coach Bill O’Brien limited his snaps during the preseason, but he is expected to be 100 percent for Sunday’s season opener against Jacksonville.
The defending AFC South Champions will be starting “The Macho Man” Tom Savage while talented rookie DeShaun Watson waits in the wings. The squad cut Brandon Weeden so Watson is the only backup currently on the roster. A year ago the team made it to the AFC Divisional round before being beaten by the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots. If this year’s team hopes to duplicate that success they will need to continue to play good defense and hope to stay healthy. Running backs D’Onta Foreman and Alfred Blue are both listed as questionable for the contest and neither participated in practice on Monday.
- 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games in September
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 1
- 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. AFC South
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in Week 1
The Texans have won six straight in the series and should make it seven in a row come Sunday. Storm aside, they are the better team, but given the motivation this team will have to go out there and win one for their city and it spells a bad day for the Jaguars. The only question at this point is whether or not they can cover the 5.5 point spread, but with the way the Jaguars have looked, it will be hard to pick them regardless of the spread, until they prove otherwise.
Pick: Houston -5.5
The Jaguars have been trending towards the over, with five of their last six contests vs. the AFC South having hit the over. Seven of their last ten vs. the AFC, and eight of their last 10 in September have also hit the over. Coming into this season, however, their offense is just a mess and Bortles is a quarterback whose confidence is clearly shaken. The Under has hit in nine of the last 13 Texans’ home games, as well as four of their last five games in September. I like i