Game Scout: Jaguars at Texans

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeNovember 22, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Houston Texans (2-8)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Reliant Stadium, Houston - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker
*Keys to the game: Case Keenum returns behind center for the Texans, who last won Sept. 15 and find themselves in the conversation for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014 along with the laughingstock Jaguars. Keenum is averaging a full 1.25 yards more per pass attempt than Matt Schaub this season and plays with the personality of a quarterback who never met a dare he wouldn't accept. That has been a revelation for WR Andre Johnson, who has 24 of his 72 catches this season in the past three games. Johnson is smiling at the prospect of going up against a Jaguars secondary expected to start three rookies and CB Alan Ball. In the last meeting, Johnson caught 14 passes for 273 yards. Jaguars QB Chad Henne will see pressure from every angle from Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who tweeted "eight is enough" this week in reference to the team's losing streak. Henne flipped four touchdown passes at Houston last November, but without WR Justin Blackmon he's handicapped by an unreliable running game and thin offensive line. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, averaging 2.9 yards per carry, is unlikely to be of great assistance against DL J.J. Watt and the Houston front seven.
*Matchup to watch - Jaguars OTs Cameron Bradfield and Austin Pasztor vs. Houston DE J.J. Watt: Bradfield and Pasztor were backups at the outset of the season and neither player is advanced enough to handle one-on-one blocking against Watt, who has 8.5 sacks this season and 4.5 in the past three meetings with the Jaguars.
*Player spotlight - Jaguars KR Jordan Todman: He has a return of at least 40 yards in four consecutive games and has 17 of 20-plus yards this season. Special teams, the only consistent unit this season for the Jaguars, is Jacksonville's only edge.
*Fast facts: The Jaguars rank last in the NFL in points, total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, red-zone efficiency, third-down percentage and first downs per game. ... Texans RB Ben Tate averages 6.5 yards per carry career against Jacksonville.
The Texans finally get back in the win column with a strong showing by QB Case Keenum, side-stepping the Jaguars, who continue their march to the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick.
*Our pick: Texans 27-15