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We’ve got a clash between two 0-1 AFC South teams here as the Houston Texans host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams had high hopes for 2019, and both started out on the wrong foot. Houston won both of the matchups between these teams last year by lopsided margins, so Jacksonville will have revenge on their minds. Oddsmakers opened the Texans as large favorites for this one.
The Jaguars finally ended the Blake Bortles experiment this offseason, releasing the erratic passer. They started a new era of football by bringing in Nick Foles to be the new starting quarterback, but unfortunately Foles went down with a shoulder injury in his very first start. That means this will be the first NFL start for rookie Gardner Minshew, who played surprisingly well in relief of Foles in Week 1.
The Texans also had a rough first game. Thankfully their quarterback wasn’t injured, but they lost in heartbreaking fashion. Houston appeared on the verge of victory on Monday Night Football against the Saints, but ended up losing on a last-second field goal. They’ll now need to regroup on a short week as they prepare to take on a passer who doesn’t have too much film to study.
Jags Going With Minshew
Just two years ago, the Jaguars were a play away from making the Super Bowl. They had the league’s best defense, and there was widespread optimism they’d be able to make it back in 2018. Instead, they completely collapsed as Blake Bortles regressed sharply and the defense took a step back. They cut Bortles this offseason, and brought in Nick Foles to replace him. Jacksonville’s front office thought they were a competent quarterback away from title contention, and they felt like Foles was that quarterback. Unfortunately, they won’t get to find out for a while. Foles went down with a broken clavicle in the team’s first game against the Chiefs, and they will be without him for at least the next eight weeks.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 11, 2019
That means they’ll turn to rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew as the starter for the time being. Sixth-round quarterbacks aren’t supposed to play right away, but Minshew looked pretty good. He stepped in seamlessly for Foles and actually played better. He completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 11 yards per attempt. It was an undeniably impressive debut from the Washington State alum, and he certainly didn’t look overwhelmed. Oddsmakers adjusted this spread almost a touchdown from what it was going to be with Foles, which might be an overreaction. The defense wasn’t its best in Week 1, but what more can you expect against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs?
Texans Coming Off Tough Loss
The Texans are coming off a truly heartbreaking loss. They were in a back and forth game with the Saints on Monday night, and Deshaun Watson led an incredible drive to take the lead with 37 seconds left. The defense then completely collapsed, allowing New Orleans to win on a last second 58-yard field goal. It was a demoralizing defeat, and there’s a chance they could come out with a hangover. Head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Rome Crenel blew the game by mismanaging it down the stretch, and it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any discord in the locker room after a loss like that.
Bill O’Brien talks about moving on from a loss.
“We watch the tape, we fix it, we turn the page and we move on to Jacksonville, because J.J.’s right,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “J.J.’s right about a lot of things. If you let it linger, then it’s going to effect the next game and I don’t think our guys do that. I think we have a very professional locker room and they’re ready to go and ready to practice today.”
After Lamar Miller tore his ACL, the Texans are moving forward with Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde in the backfield. The Jags have a solid defensive front, so it might not be easy to run on them. With Jalen Ramsey leading the way, the Jaguars still have an elite secondary, so Watson could struggle. That being said, Watson does have an elite group of weapons with Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills. Houston’s secondary isn’t very good, as evidenced by the fact that they released cornerback Aaron Colvin after their Week 1 loss. Anytime you release a starting cornerback suddenly after the first game, that’s not a good sign. They got torched by Drew Brees last week, and the defense also gave up seven yards per carry.
- 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game
- 7-19-1 ATS in their last 27 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game
- 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game
- 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games in Houston
Updated on Sep 15 at 4:30am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Line has stayed true at Houston -8.5, despite the Jaguars getting 58% of the bets. The Sharps are on the side of the Texans a bit.
Injury / Weather Report
Jacksonville’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: OT Cam Robinson, DB A.J. Bouye, and WR Marqise Lee
Out: TE Josh Oliver, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, and DE Yannick Ngakoue
Houston’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: RB Yannick Ngakoue, OG Senio Kelemete, and OL Greg Mancz
Gametime Weather: Retractable Roof
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
There’s value on the Jaguars here, and oddsmakers have sharply overreacted. The fact of the matter is, Minshew isn’t that much worse than Foles, but oddsmakers moved this number through several key numbers. Minshew looked great in his first real action, and the Texans are coming off a devastating loss. As such, I expect them to start pretty slow. Jacksonville’s defense will keep this one close at the very least.
Prediction: Jags +8.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under a lot in this spot. Minshew looked pretty good in his first game, but that defense wasn’t prepared for him at all. He’ll now be going on the road into a hostile environment for the first time, against a defense that’s expecting him. Watson took six sacks last week, and now he’ll be facing an even better pass-rush. Jacksonville has an elite defense still, and this one will be pretty low scoring.