The Houston Texans are set to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Week 14 matchup on Thursday Night Football. While this is a ... less than anticipated game, it's at least a bit more compelling than it was when the schedule was announced.
That's not due to playoff implications or anything of the sort. It's just projected to be competitive, as opposed to an outright Houston win as many suspected when the season got underway. But instead of marching right back into the playoffs, the Texans have crashed and burned big time this year.
Jacksonville ... has done the same, but the team had no expectations coming into this season. At 3-9, the Jaguars are right about where they were expected to be in head coach Gus Bradley's first season at the helm. At 2-10, the Texans have been downright disappointing. Let's take a look at the two teams below, starting with the home team:
Meet the Jaguars
Losing football games is never OK, but the Jaguars have a long way to go before they're competing for a spot in the playoffs. Head coach Gus Bradley is expected to turn them around, but losing nine or more games was always expected. Still, a win over the Texans is always nice for Jaguars fans.
Jacksonville already holds one such win this season. The Jaguars have won three of their last four games, and one of those wins was against the Texans in Week 12. Jacksonville won that game by a score of 13-6.
Still, the Jaguars are kind of a mess right now. They have the worst rushing attack in the league at 70.6 rushing yards per game, rank low in throwing the football with Chad Henne at the helm, and defensively rank 23rd in pass defense and 29th in rush defense.
Meet the Texans
If you had told the average Texans fan that Case Keenum would be the starter and Gary Kubiak would be on the hot seat and possibly out of a job this offseason, they'd have laughed in your face. The Texans were very good over the past couple seasons, but just about everything has gone wrong this year.
It all started with Matt Schaub and his exceedingly poor play. He threw multiple interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and generally regressed about as hard as a quarterback can regress, but Keenum hasn't been too much better at this point. The running game has struggled as well, with Arian Foster and Ben Tate both being "just OK" this season.
Houston still has a very strong pass defense -- No. 2 in the league -- so it should be able to stymie the Jaguars' offense, given their inherent struggles in the running game.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
NFL Week 14 Game Capsule: Texans v. Jaguars. http://t.co/z6ECg4ZSxx— battleredblog (@battleredblog) December 4, 2013
SB Nation's six NFL experts were divided on this one. Ryan Van Bibber, Stephen White and David Fucillo all picked the Jaguars to win, while Joel Thorman, Jason Chilton and Matt Ufford are backing the Texans.
The Texans opened as 2.5-point favorites despite being the road team, and on most books, the line has widened in their favor, with them as high as 3-point favorites, according to OddsShark.