Pro Handicapper Previews Jaguars/Texans: Under the Helmet Week 7
Dave Michaels of SportsInformationTraders analyzes this AFC South matchup.
A Super Bowl favorite for some entering the season thanks largely to their defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been undressed the last two weeks by opposing offenses and surrendered 70 points combined to the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys.
Those games, both losses, were played on the road and the 3-3 Jaguars will return home this week looking to get back on the right track against the 3-3 Houston Texans.
There’s a decent chance they will, especially on the defensive side of the ball, as Houston’s offense has given up the NFL’s second-most sacks (25) and a league-high 70 quarterback hits.
That doesn’t exactly bode well for Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson nor does the fact that he holds the NFL’s longest active streak of games with an interception at eight and has turned the ball over 13 times in that span.
The Jags only have 14 sacks and have forced a measly five turnovers this season, but both of those numbers project to spike up after facing Watson and the 21st-ranked Houston offense.
On the offensive side of the ball, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles won’t have it any easier than his Houston counterpart as the Texans defense has been stout and is only allowing 22.8 points per game, good for 11th in the NFL.
Houston’s defense has been good against the pass over their past two games while facing Dak Prescott and Josh Allen/Nathan Peterman, but Bortles, on paper at least, should be better than either of them.
For the Jaguars to win, they will likely need Bortles to do that again as the Texans are bottling up opposing running games and have held enemy backs to a 141/488/1 (3.46 YPC) rushing line. The fact that the Jaguars will be using backup runner T.J. Yeldon thanks to a lingering injury to starter Leonard Fournette makes the play of Bortles that much more important.
At least that’s how pro handicapper Dave Michaels of SportsInformationTraders sees it.
“Bortles, who threw five picks in their last two blowout losses, will have much more time this week and should be able to manage things effectively,” Michaels told RealClearLife.
At -6, the Jaguars need Bortles to play well but can also expect their defense to rebound.
“After imploding the last two weeks, the Jaguars need to get back to playing the type of defense they played over the first four games of the season,” Michaels told RCL. “This matchup presents just that opportunity. After facing two of the best offensive lines in the league, they will now match up against one of the worst in the Texans.”
And don’t be fooled by Houston’s three-game win streak or inflated record.
“Although they have won three straight, they could have easily lost all of them. Putting too much on Watson’s shoulders has led to mixed results, as he is very prone to turnovers. Look for the Jags to do what they do best, which is run the ball effectively while creating opportunities on defense,” Michaels said. “The Jags will cover this week.”
Michaels is now 3-2-1 on the season with his picks after taking Buffalo to cover against the Texans last week in Houston getting 10 points. The Bills and their quarterbacks weren’t very good, but they did cover the spread, losing by a seven-point margin 20-13.