Game Scout: Texans at Jaguars

Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Houston Texans (2-10) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)
Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla. - TV: NFL Network
*TV announcers: Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan
*Keys to the game: These teams met less than two weeks ago, with the Jaguars sending their AFC South rivals to a new low with a 13-6 victory in Houston. Texans QB Case Keenum struggled in that meeting, completing just 18 of 34 passes with no touchdowns and an interception as the Jaguars bottled RB Ben Tate up for just one yard on seven carries before he left the game. Jacksonville dared Keenum to beat them, and he wasn't able to respond. Tate is healthier and must be the Texans' driving force, and TE Garrett Graham has become an increasing factor as Houston works to get the tight end position back involved in the offense. The Jaguars will be content to chip away with RB Maurice Jones-Drew while trying to keep QB Chad Henne from having to constantly deal with the strength of Houston's pass rush. The Texans are 20th in run defense and the secondary have been far more vulnerable all season with teams taking advantage of shorter down-and-distance situations.
*Matchup to watch - Texans CB Johnathan Joseph vs. Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III: When Henne has time to throw, he often looks toward Shorts' way. He had eight catches in the first meeting, but for only 71 yards. Shorts is expected to be shadowed by Joseph, who is dealing with a groin strain.
*Player spotlight - Jaguars S Jonathan Cyprien: Rookie wall? Cyprien just continues to blow through it, coming off nine-tackle performance last week that included eight solo tackles, an interception and a pass defensed.
*Fast facts: Texans WR Andre Johnson holds the NFL record with an average of 91.8 receiving yards per game since turning 30 years old. ... The Jaguars have lost nine of their past 10 primetime games and are 0-4 all-time on Thursday nights.
No primetime drama? Then you must not be a fan of the NFL draft, because the No. 1 overall pick in May could well be on the line Thursday night. The Texans might be riding a 10-game losing streak, but have dropped the past six by an average of just 3.6 points and the Jaguars have not won at EverBank Field in more than a year.
*Our pick: Texans 20-16

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