Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Date and Time: Sunday, September 10, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: NRG Stadium
Week 1 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Texans -4.5, O/U 42
Jaguars vs. Texans TV Coverage: CBS
The Jacksonville Jaguars were a chic selection to make some noise in the AFC a short season ago, but the team did nothing but disappoint starting in the season opener when it dropped a 27-23 decision and failed to cover against a Green Bay side that didn’t find its stride until the last stages of the regular season. While the club went on to split its next four games, another triumph wasn’t tallied until Week 16 when it shockingly throttled a Titans team badly in need of a win.
When it was said and done, the Jags went 5-11 and burned many of the futures bettors that bought into this franchise in the preseason. Gus Bradley was handed his walking papers and a new coaching staff was assembled. Doug Marrone is now calling the shots, while future Hall of Fame coach Tom Coughlin is calling the shots in the front office. The hope is that these two old school football minds can finally get this defunct franchise back on the winning track.
It wasn’t pretty. Actually, it was far from it. But the Texans did enough to secure a second straight division title on the back of a defense that played the bulk of the season without the services of J.J. Watt. Even in his absence, Jadeveon Clowney and company still managed to allow the fewest yards per game ( 300.1 ) and just over 20 points per game ( No. 12 ). Though the sack output plummeted ( No. 24 ), Houston was still above average defending the run ( No. 11 ) with only the Denver Broncos sporting a better pass defense.
The main issue was an offense that simply couldn’t get the job done. Brock Osweiler turned out to be one of the biggest offseason acquisition busts in the history of the NFL wrapping the year with a 72.2 QB rating and throwing more interceptions ( 16 ) than touchdowns ( 15 ). It says a lot about the fight in this team that it was able to circumvent the issues of the offense and still find a way to reach the postseason for a second straight time. The hope is that either Tom Savage or rookie Deshaun Watson helps solidify the offense with it containing some really nice pieces in the backfield and in the receiving corps.
The last time these clubs met up at NRG Stadium, it turned out to be the last time Osweiler would’ve started a game for the Texans had Savage not succumbed to a season ending injury. He was benched in the second half of that game after tossing a pair of interceptions opening the door for Savage to lead Houston to the comeback. Down 20-8 halfway through the third quarter, Savage put the Texans on the comeback trail leading the offense on a pair of scoring drives that resulted in field goals. Then when it really mattered, he guided Houston on a huge game winning drive that concluded with Lamar Miller crossing the goal line from a yard out. Houston’s defense sealed the deal to move the Texans to 6-1 straight up the last seven times they hosted this rivalry ( 3-4 ATS ).
Jaguars vs. Texans Picks
The Texans are one of the more popular sides the betting public is backing at the top 10 sportsbooks in Week 1. Only the Carolina Panthers have seen a larger percentage of tickets backing them in their matchup with the rebuilding 49ers. In all honesty, I’m a bit surprised. Jacksonville wasn’t embarrassed in either of last year’s matchups, and Houston stands a very mediocre 2-2-1 against the spread the last five times it went off the board favored at home. On the flipside, Jacksonville has covered three of the last five times it was dogged up to six points on the road, and it’s the one that will take the field with something to prove in this one.
Jaguars vs. Texans Week 1 ATS Pick: Jaguars +5.5 at BookMaker.eu
Jaguars vs. Texans Score Prediction: Texans 19 – Jaguars 17