2012 NFL Week 11 Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
About 2 months ago we didn’t know exactly what to expect from these two teams as they took the field in Jacksonville. Fans were wondering if the Texans could maintain their fever pitch from last year, and Jacksonville fans were wondering if they had a team that could cause enough buzz to stick around. The game was a great foreshadow for the season so far as the Texans put their boots on Jaguar necks in a 27-7 road win that wasn’t as close as the 20 point margin would seem.
The Texans jumped out to a 10 point lead in the first quarter, testing the flaws of the Jacksonville defense and dominating the field position battle. There was no looking back, Foster and Tate danced their way to three touchdowns, capping off some impressive sustained drives led by Schaub & Co. Though he didn’t find the end zone, Schaub completed nearly 75% of his passes against a Jags pass defense that was and still is holey-er than thou. Come Sunday you should see more of the same, in fact, you should see more than that. The offense is a well-oiled machine with Schaub as foreman, and they do even better when going to work on their home turf. Kubiak’s mentality of “run until the defense can stop it,” will likely change this week. I don’t see the need to putting the load on Foster when you are playing a team that hardly has the will to line up on defense, much less play it. It’s time to get the ball in the air more, and with the receiving core that Schaub has, he should have plenty of yards passing, plenty of scores, and plenty of fun.
The defense was stellar in their first match up, and again they have proven to be even more potent on their home field. The Jags emptied the seats early in Jacksonville gaining a total of 117 yards (outgained by the Houston rushing game alone) and only managed a score by Jones-Drew (who they now lack) after a bad punt and a chuck-and-pray pass from Gabbert. 32 of their 117 yards gained came on that one play to Laurent Robinson. The Jags had the ball 12 times, netting negative yards on 4 of their drives, punting 9 times, and fumbling their last possession. They never converted a 3rd down all game, and only had 9 first downs, 2 of them coming from penalties. To put that into perspective, the Texans had a 17 play, 80 yard drive with 7 first downs.
As seasons progress and the weather gets colder, NFL teams tend to shore up their defenses and get into a groove with the timing and rhythm of their passing games. This spells a laugher for the Texans at Reliant. Foster will gain 60-80 and likely see a few passes his way as he finds the end zone at least once. Johnson should have a day, as well as Kevin Walter who we’ve all been waiting to have a break out day. Kubiak doesn’t like letting up, he’s no Bill Bellichek, but he will run his offense very late into the game. It’s not a matter of making a statement for him, it’s more like he likes to see his team performing as expected. After a tough prime time game, and a bit of a bye-week hangover with the Bills the week before the Texans should stretch their legs against a floor mat Jaguar team. Schaub should finally break 300 yards, the defense will hand him points on a platter, and Kubiak will relieve some stress by posting a bunch on the scoreboard. Barring some silly special teams play, I’m calling a shut-out Texans 45-0.