Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Sunday, January 2, 2011, 4:15 pm EST, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Jaguars -2.5
Current Line: Texans -3
Opening Total: 49.5
Current Total: 46
Money Line: Texans -160 / Jaguars +140
The Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7) already had a slim chance of making the playoffs, but it will be even tougher to get a win on Sunday when they visit the Houston Texans (5-10) without the services of quarterback David Garrard and running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars need a victory against the Texans (-3) and a loss by Indianapolis to Tennessee at home to win the AFC South, something that will be extremely difficult without their top two offensive players.
Jacksonville pulled off a miraculous win over Houston in the first meeting back in Week 10, as Garrard completed a desperation 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Thomas as time expired after it bounced off Texans cornerback Glover Quin. At that point, it seemed like the Jaguars were destined to make the postseason and dethrone the Colts atop the division.
However, consecutive losses to Indy and Washington along with key injuries to Jones-Drew (knee) and Garrard (finger) have put the team’s playoff chances in serious doubt. The Jags finished last season with four straight losses and do not want to lose three in a row to end this year, so they held a players-only meeting on Monday to make sure they finish strong.
Backup quarterback Trent Edwards will get the call in place of Garrard and try to light up a Texans secondary that ranks dead last in the NFL, surrendering 277.1 passing yards per game. Houston gave up 308 passing yards to Denver rookie Tim Tebow last week in only his second career start and blew a 17-0 halftime lead in a 24-23 loss.
The Texans have dropped eight of their last nine games following a promising 4-2 start that included a win over Indianapolis in the season opener. Most of their struggles have occurred since their bye week, as opponents have averaged over 30 points in those eight wins.
Houston head coach Gary Kubiak could also be coaching his last game with the team, as fans have grown tired of the mediocrity and underachievement. The Texans will be looking to avoid their first five-game losing streak in four years and snap a three-game series skid vs. Jacksonville.
Despite losing their last two games both straight-up and against the spread, the Jaguars have still covered six of their last eight overall with the total going OVER in seven of nine. The OVER has also cashed in five of the last seven meetings with Houston, which has seen the OVER go 6-2 in its past eight overall.
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