Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans Preview
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
When: Sunday, September 10, 2017, 1:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
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Betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars (+185)
For the second year running, the Jacksonville Jaguars will keep three quarterbacks in their final 53-man roster. Given the uncertainty that the Jaguars face with that all-important position, that might not be a bad decision at all. The main root of this problem has been the inconsistent form of Blake Bortles. The 25-year-old came close to losing his starting gig to Chad Henne this past preseason and he’s now in a whole lot of pressure to deliver in Year 4 of his underwhelming career.
Bortles had a roller-coaster 2016 season, throwing for 3,905 yards and 23 scores but also recording 16 picks. That has been the Achilles heel for Bortles who has thrown a whopping 51 interceptions in 46 games for the Jags. He will need to lessen his errors and improve his completion percentage (58.8 for his career) for him to prolong his stay with Jacksonville.
Bortles will look to open the season with a bang when the Jaguars face the Texans in Week 1. He completed 44 of 77 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in two meetings with Houston last season. The Jags lost both of those games but only by a combined four points. He will have his work cut out for him, however, against a Houston defense that allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game (201.6) and fifth-fewest touchdown passes (20) last season.
Help is on the way, though, for Bortles with the arrival of LSU alum Leonard Fournette. The 22-year-old rookie will look to improve on a Jacksonville attack which averaged the 11th fewest rushing yards per game (101.9) in the NFL last season. They were also 30th in rushing touchdowns (8).
The Jaguars are 1-9 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 road games.
Betting on the Houston Texans (-225)
Week 1 of the new NFL season can’t come soon enough for the long-suffering city of Houston which was unfortunately ravaged by Hurricane Harvey last month. A win against the Jaguars this coming Sunday will no doubt lift the morale of a community that’s still reeling from all the devastation that was brought by the storm. One guy who’s desperate to deliver a victory for his home city is J.J. Watt. He has helped raise more than $17 million for relief efforts in Houston and all the surrounding areas. Watt will look to inspire a Texans defense that managed just 31 sacks last season, seventh-fewest in the NFL.
As for the offense, the Texans are expected to ride their running game against the Jags. Houston’s rushing attack last season was one of the best in the NFL, ranking eighth in yards (1,859) and yards per game (116.2). The Texans will more than likely go that route with Tom Savage still pretty much unproven at quarterback. In five career outings, Savage has completed just 60.9 percent of his passes for 588 yards with no touchdowns and one pick.
That being said, Savage will be a fool not to utilize the talented DeAndre Hopkins. The 25-year-old have just agreed to a lucrative five-year, $81 million contract extension with the Texans. Hopkins has piled up a whopping 4,487 yards receiving in his first four seasons for Houston, including a career-high 1,521 yards in 2015. He has managed to put up those incredible numbers despite playing with a revolving door of quarterbacks. Hopkins will look to wreak havoc against a Jacksonville pass defense that allowed the fifth-fewest yards per game through the air (215.2) and touchdowns (20).
The Texans are 8-2 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 home games.
Houston (-5.5) wins, 24-17.
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