NFL Week 14 Thursday Night Football Betting: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
EverBank Field – Jacksonville, Florida

Thursday, December 5, 2013, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: NFL Network
Opening Line: Houston -3 (+105)
Current Line: Houston -3 (-115)
Opening Total: 43
Current Total: 43 1/2
Opening Money Line: Texans -170 / Jaguars +145
Current Money Line: Texans -170 / Jaguars +145

The Texans are a 3 point road favorite at the Jaguars Thursday night.
The Texans are a 3 point road favorite at the Jaguars Thursday night.

Coming into the 2013 NFL season, the Houston Texans were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Texans started off the season 2-0 and looked like they could live up to those expectations. However, since then the Texans have lost 10 straight games and have the worst record in the league. The Texans travel to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night. The Jaguars have won 3 of 4 games including 2 straight after an 0-8 start.

Houston leads the series against Jacksonville 13-10 since the Texans came into the league in 2002. The Jaguars won two weeks ago in Houston 13-6 to snap a five game losing streak against the Texans. In that game Jacksonville took a 10-3 lead at halftime. Houston would pull to within 10-6 in the third quarter. Jacksonville kicked a field goal with 6:44 left in the fourth to  make it 13-6. The Texans had two more drives, but they ended with a punt and an interception at the Jacksonville 36 for the game’s only turnover. Houston had 218 total yards including 141 passing yards. Jacksonville had 333 total yards including 215 passing yards. The Jaguars had 7 penalties for 63 yards.

Houston is coached by Gary Kubiak. Kubiak collapsed at halftime against the Indianapolis Colts a few weeks ago and was rushed to a Houston hospital. He was diagnosed with a warning stroke. He missed the Arizona game but came back two weeks later against Oakland. The Texans have a win at the San Diego Chargers 31-28 and at home to the Tennessee Titans 30-24 in overtime. Houston has road losses at the Baltimore Ravens 30-9, San Francisco 49ers 34-3, Kansas City Chiefs 17-16, and Arizona Cardinals 27-24, along with home losses to the Seattle Seahawks 23-20 in overtime, St. Louis Rams 38-13, Indianapolis Colts 27-24, Oakland Raiders 28-23, Jaguars, and last week against the New England Patriots 34-31. The Texans are 3-9 ATS and the total is 8-4 this season. Houston was a 7 point underdog against New England and the total was 49.

The Texans took leads of 10-0 and 17-7 against the Patriots last week in the first half. New England would pull to within 24-21 by the end of the third quarter. The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it 31-28 with 11:35 left. The Patriots took a 34-31 lead on a pair of 53 yard field goals with 3:12 left. Houston turned the ball over on downs at their own 43 with 1:58 left. The Texans would get the ball back at their own five with just 7 seconds left. It was another agonizing loss for the Texans who have lost by a field goal or less to five of the best teams in the league. The Patriots had 453 total yards including 365 passing yards. Houston had 385 total yards including 264 passing yards. Each team had a turnover.

Houston is being outscored 27-19 this season. The Texans are #29 in scoring and #27 in points allowed. Houston is averaging 365.2 yards per game including 248.5 passing and 116.8 rushing yards. The Texans are #14 or better in all three categories. On defense, Houston is allowing 303.9 yards per game including 187.9 passing and 116 rushing yards. The Texans are #3 in total offense and #2 against the pass. Houston is -12 in turnovers. The Texans are 65/187 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 63/169. Houston has forced 28 sacks and allowed 31 sacks. The Texans have two defensive/special teams touchdowns, and have given up nine including 7 defensive touchdowns.   Houston averages 61 penalty yards per game and opponents average 48.

Houston is one of seven teams to use at least three quarterbacks this season. Not surprisingly the only one of those teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, are above .500. Matt Schaub began the season as the starter, but was benched in favor of T.J. Yates. Yates didn’t do much either and was replaced by local college legend Case Keenum who attended the University of Houston. Keenum has started the last six games. Keenum has completed 54.2% of his passes for 1,433 yards with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, plus 12 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. Schaub completed 62.8%  of his passes for 1,707 yards with 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Yates threw for 113 yards  with 2 interceptions.

Running back Ben Tate has 151 carries for 646 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 29 catches for 117 yards. Arian Foster is out for the season with a back injury. He had 121 carries for 542 yards and a touchdown, along with 22 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Dennis Johnson also gets some carries, and has a rushing touchdown. Receiver Andre Johnson has 82 catches for 1,123 yards with 5 touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins has 41 catches, 631 yards and 2 touchdowns. Garrett Graham has 41 catches 472 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Owen Daniels is out Thursday with a leg injury. He has 24 catches, 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. Keyshawn Martin has 12 catches, 175 yards and 3 touchdowns. Five defensive players and three offensive linemen are questionable or out.

The Jaguars are coached by Gus Bradley in his first year. Jacksonville has road wins over the Tennessee Titans 29-27, Texans, and last last week at the Cleveland Browns 32-28. The Jaguars have home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 28-2, the Indianapolis Colts 37-3, the San Francisco 49ers 42-10 in London ( technically a  Jags’ home game), the San Diego Chargers 24-6 and Arizona Cardinals 27-14 along with road losses at the Oakland Raiders 19-9, the Seattle Seahawks 45-17, the St. Louis Rams 34-20  and the Denver Broncos 35-19. All of Jacksonville’s losses are by double digits. The Jaguars are 4-8 ATS and the total is 7-5 this season. Jacksonville was an 7.5 point underdog at the Browns last week and the total was 39.5.

Cleveland and Jacksonville exchanged touchdowns in the first quarter to make it 7-7. The Browns would take a 14-7 lead early in the second. The Jaguars closed the second on a 13-0 run to take a 20-14 lead into halftime. Cleveland would regain the lead midway through the third 21-20. The Browns were called for an illegal kick in the end zone for a safety midway through the fourth and the Jaguars added a field goal to make it 25-21 with 4:14 left. Cleveland regained the lead with a 95 yard touchdown pass with 3:55 left to make it 28-25. Jacksonville scored the go ahead touchdown with 40 seconds left to make the score 32-28. Cleveland got to midfield on their last drive before the clock ran out. The Jaguars had 214 total yards including 202 passing. The Browns had 439 total yards including 342 passing yards. Cleveland had 9 penalties for 50 yards and 3 turnovers. The Jaguars had 5 penalties fro 35 yards and a turnover.

The Jaguars are being outscored 29-15 this season. Jacksonville is last in scoring and #30 in points allowed. The Jaguars are averaging a league worst 285.6 yards per game including the #23 passing game at 215 yards and are last in rushing at 70.6 yards per game. The defense isn’t much better. Jacksonville is allowing 381.1 yards per game including 250.7 passing and 130.4 rushing yards. The Jaguars are #23 or worse in all three categories. Jacksonville is -4 in turnovers. The Jaguars are 61/192 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 76/172. Jacksonville has allowed 39 quarterback sacks this season and forced 20. The Jags have allowed 4 defensive touchdowns this season and has 2 of their own. Jacksonville is averaging 50 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 40.

Jacksonville QB Chad Henne  has completed 61.4% of his passes for 2,319 yards with 6 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has been sacked 27 times this season and has 21 rushing yards. Blaine Gabbert started a few games earlier in the season. Gabbert has completed 48.8% of his passes for 481 yards with a touchdown and 7 picks, along with 9 carries for 32 yards. He has been sacked 12 times. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has 194 carries, 616 yards and 5 touchdown, along with  32 catches for 219 yards. Jordan Todman has 36 carries for 124 yards with 2 touchdowns along with 7 catches. Little used running back Justin Forsett is out with a broken foot.

Receiver Cecil Shorts has 64 catches, 764 yards and 2 touchdowns. Justin Blackmon returned from a 4 game suspension for violating the NFL”s substance abuse policy, and played in a few games. However, he failed another drug test and is suspended at least until next season. He had 29 catches for 415 yards and a touchdown.Ace Sanders has 36 catches for 371 yards.   Mike Brown has 18 catches for 296 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Clay Harbor has 19 catches, 229 yards and a touchdown. Receivers Stephen Williams (Achilles) and Stephen Burton (concussion) are both out.

Houston is 9-3 ATS after allowing 250 passing yards or more, 8-3-1 after scoring 30 points or more, 2-5 after allowing 90 rushing yards or less, 3-8 on grass, 4-11 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 2-6 after passing for 250 yards or more, 2-6 in road games, 3-10 overall, 2-7 against AFC teams, 1-5 against teams with losing records, after gaining more than 350 total yards, 0-7 after a cover, and 0-4 in AFC South games, The road team is 4-0-1 ATS in this series recently.

Jacksonville is 4-1 ATS against AFC teams, 5-12 overall, 10-29-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 2-6 against teams with losing records, 2-8-1 after  a straight up win, 1-5 after a cover, against teams with losing road records, and after allowing 250 passing yards or more, 0-5 in Thursday games and at home. The under 4-1 in this series recently and 7-3 in the last 10 in Jacksonville between the teams.

This game will test the theory that a bad NFL game is better than almost any other sporting event. Games don’t get much worse than this. If this game was on Sunday, no one except Jags and Texans fans would even flip over to this game on the NFL Sunday ticket. It is on national TV though so people will watch it. To be honest the Texans aren’t nearly as bad as their record would indicate. They are #10 in offense and #2 in defense. However, penalties and turnovers are just killing the Texans. The Jaguars meanwhile have won 3 games in their last four outings against 3 teams with back-up or third string quarterbacks by a total of 13 points. I think the Texans win a close game on the road to snap the losing streak if they can avoid the turnovers that have plagued them all season.

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