Texans Vs. Jaguars:
The Texans are the biggest favorite on the board this week and unless they simply don't show up, should win this game easily. That being said, it is a division game against a team that knows your plays and tendencies very well. I don't think the Jaguars will seriously challenge the Texans on Sunday, but upsets are possible in games like this. If the Jaguars are competitive in this game, they'll have to have a great game on defense. They're capable of at least slowing down the Texans offense, but Blaine Gabbert is not capable of moving the ball consistently and putting up points against the Texans defense.
Texans Offense Vs. Jaguars Defense:
The Jaguars rank 29th in rushing yards allowed per game and 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed this season. In their earlier game this season, the Texans ran for 216 yards; the Texans next highest total this season is 181 yards. Arian Foster had 110 rushing yards in their last meeting, I expect him to easily surpass that number this weekend. In five career games against the Jaguars, Foster has averaged 104 yards per game and has scored six touchdowns. Even if Ben Tate were to miss another game (he's questionable), there's no reason to expect the Texans to rush for less than 175 yards against Jacksonville. The Jaguars could choose to load the box and take away the run, but that strategy would likely lead to them getting beat deep by the play action pass. In their last meeting the Jaguars chose to play their safeties deep, keep everything in front of them and limit big plays. They managed to hold Schaub under 200 passing yards, but with only seven men in the box, the Texans ran all over them. The Jaguars simply don't have enough talent on defense to stop the Texans. The Texans will take what the Jaguars give them because they can't stop everything, and should score easily. The Jaguars rank 26th in points allowed, the Texans rank 5th in points scored this season.
Texans Defense Vs. Jaguars Offense:
Maurice Jones-Drew averaged five yards a carry in their last meeting, but only had 12 attempts because they fell behind early in the game and had to abandon the running game. In the three games that Rashad Jennings has been a starter after taking over for the injured MJD, he's averaged just 43 rushing yards per game on 3.2 yards per carry and has not scored a touchdown. The Texans defense ranks third in rushing yards allowed and has not allowed a single rushing touchdown this season; I wouldn't expect much from the Jaguars running game on Sunday.
In the earlier game against the Texans it appeared that Blaine Gabbert didn't even look more than 10 yards down field and too often looked for his dump off option right away. Gabbert finished the game 7-19 for 53 yards, but if you take off his long completion of 32 yards, his other six completions went for an average of 3.5 yards. The Jaguars rank 26th in sacks allowed, his receivers aren't getting open quickly, and he's starting to look shell shocked like David Carr towards the end of his time with the Texans. Maybe Gabbert would have turned out this way even with a good offensive line and reliable weapons to throw to, but either way it doesn't take much to rattle him. If the Texans can pressure him early, be in his face and around his legs quickly as he drops back, they can take him out of the game mentally before halftime.
The Jaguars Can Win If...
Arian Foster - As I said last week, Foster is a must start even when faced with a tough matchup. This week, he'll face an easier test against Jacksonville. The Jaguars rank 29th in rushing yards allowed and 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed this season. In their last meeting, the Jaguars allowed 216 rushing yards; the Texans highest total this season (their next highest was 181 yards). In five career games against the Jaguars, Foster has averaged 104 yards per game and has scored six touchdowns; he remains a must start this week.
Texans Defense - In my standard scoring league, the Texans have scored double digit fantasy points in six of their nine games this season, including 11 in their week two meeting at Jacksonville. In that same standard scoring league, team defenses that face the Jaguars score 5.3 more fantasy points than defenses score on the average. The Jaguars are ranked 26th in sacks allowed this season and Blaine Gabbert is a mess; a big problem when facing the second ranked defense in yards allowed and third ranked defense in points allowed. With Maurice Jones-Drew listed as out, the Jaguars simply have no chance on Sunday. A shutout is a real possibility.
Andre Johnson - The veteran receiver caught just three passes for 21 yards in their last game, mostly because the Jaguars played their safeties back and played more conservative looks to take away the passing game. Since their week two meeting, the Jaguars have allowed seven touchdowns in seven games to opposing receivers. The Jaguars rank 23rd in passing yards allowed and I don't think they'll have the same success against Johnson in this meeting. The Texans ran all over Jacksonville in their last game and I expect the Jaguars to load the box and try to take that away early on, opening up room for Johnson to beat their secondary deep on play action passes. Also worth noting that Johnson was still getting into game shape during their week two meeting after off-season surgery and missing a portion of training camp; he's fully healthy and ready to go for this game.
Owen Daniels - He practiced on Wednesday and all reports indicate he'll be ready for the game on Sunday. Before missing the game in Chicago, Daniels had been on a nice streak with a touchdown in five of his last six games, and topping 10 fantasy points in four of his last five games. Against a weak defense like Jacksonville, Daniels is a great start this week.
Shayne Graham - The Texans will move the ball up and down field with ease on Sunday and should give Graham plenty of opportunities on Sunday. Graham made two field goals in their last game and is ranked in the top three for kickers this week by two of the three writers on CBS. He's a good option this week.
Matt Schaub - In their last meeting Schaub played well but the Texans dominated and the game was over by halftime. That's the biggest reason why I'm telling you to sit him again this week, he may have a great first half, but there is a very good chance that the Texans will be up by about 20 at halftime and run the ball almost the entire second half to milk the clock. Schaub is good quarterback, but very few are worth starting if they only play about half of a game. In my standard scoring league Schaub is the 22nd ranked quarterback; he needs to have a great matchup to be worth starting. The Jaguars are an easy matchup, but it may be too easy. Two of the three experts on CBS have Schaub ranked 14th among QB's this week; keep him on your bench.