This time around, the playoffs are on the line.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans will meet for the second time this season, and if you would have told me at the beginning of the season that one of these teams would be 4-9 and the other team would be 9-4 at this point, I would have believed you, but probably thought it would be the other way around.
The first time I wrote about this topic in Week 1, 55 percent of poll voters believed that Houston would defeat Jacksonville. When I pose the same question at the end of this article, I expect the results to be quite different this time around.
Believe it or not, the Jaguars can clinch a playoff berth for the first time in 10 years with a win against the Texans (or a few other scenarios) at home. Yes, that is correct, the Jaguars should be playoff bound following Week 15.
But as we do with each weekly opponent, let’s review the series history between these two AFC South rivals.
All-time series record: Houston Texans lead 19-12
Last Jaguars win: Sept. 10, 2017 (29-7)
Last Texans win: Dec. 18, 2016 (21-20)
Current Streak: Jaguars own a one-game streak
Biggest Jaguars win: 27-0 (Dec. 7, 2003)
Biggest Texans win: 30-6 (Jan. 3, 2016)
Interesting takeaway: The Texans have won six of the 10 games played in the month of December
Quick thoughts: Historically, the Texans own a pretty big advantage in the series. Before Jacksonville’s Week 1 demolition derby, the Texans had won the previous six matchups. But an obvious shift in momentum is upon us. The Jaguars will look to make it a multiple-game winning streak themselves on Sunday. The contests between these two franchises have been close more often than not, with more than half of the matchups being decided by seven points or less. Games played in Jacksonville have gone back-and-forth, as the Texans have won eight games and the Jaguars have seven victories.
Date: Sept. 10, 2017
Location: NRG Stadium, Hoston
Team Stats: Jaguars — 125 passing yards, 155 rushing yards, 19 first downs
Texans — 164 passing yards, 93 rushing yards, 23 first downs
Quick recap: This was the first game of the 2017 season, and it was also the game that set the tone for what this Jacksonville team would be this year: tenacious defense and efficient offense. Leonard Fournette had an impressive NFL debut with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t the most stellar game for Blake Bortles, but he didn’t turn the ball over and got the job done. The Jacksonville defense went absolutely bananas with 10 sacks and four turnovers and that was our first glimpse of quite possibly the best defense in Jacksonville history. This game was all Jags.
Date: Sept. 10, 2017
Location: NRG Stadium, Hosuton
Team Stats: Jaguars — 92 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, 19 first downs
Texans — 308 passing yards, 79 rushing yards, 23 first downs
Quick recap: Quite frankly, the Jaguars had no reason to lose this game after enjoying leads of 13-0 early on and even 20-8 just before the fourth quarter. Jacksonville led for 57 minutes and nine seconds of this game, but couldn’t get the job done. Borltes threw a pick on Jacksonville’s last drive of the game and then Houston ended it with a couple of kneel downs. This was also the final straw with Gus Bradley, as he was fired after the contest. Doug Marrone assumed interim duties, which then turned into a full-time gig, and I would say that has worked out OK.
Through the Decades
1990s: The Texans did not exist yet
2000-2010: Tied 9-9
2011-Present: Houston 10-3
Quick thoughts: It was a highly competitive series in the early going. Houston’s first season of competition was 2002 and the two teams each won nine of the first 18 matchups. But ever since the 2011 season, it has been all Texans. Houston has won 10 of the 13 contests since then, including six of the past seven games. But again, Houston’s domination of Jacksonville is seemingly coming to an end for at least this season, given the current states of the franchises. However, with Deshaun Watson hopefully back healthy next season, we may be in for some great games in the future.
For this Week 15 matchup, I expect the Jaguars to win, relatively handily, and earn a spot in the playoffs in front of their home crowd. I even expect a few tears from the fanbase, and of course some entertaining tweets.
What do you think?