With the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts losing last weekend while Tennessee and the Jaguars were off, the AFC South has bunched up tightly. Both the Jaguars and Texans are 4-4, one game behind the Titans and Colts. The Texans and Jaguars both have four divisional games left to play. Since both teams have a win over the Colts, winning the division is a distinct possibility — but it will most likely have to start with a win this weekend.
Keys for the Jaguars
• The quality of Jaguars quarterback David Garrard’s play has been the most consistent predictor of whether the team will win of suffer a blowout loss. Garrard’s quarterback rating is 139.5 in the four wins. In the three losses in which he played, Garrard’s rating has been lower than 40.
• Coaches have insisted that a very young defense will improve in the second half of the season. The Jaguars have finally found a defensive backfield they want to stick with and will need improvement back there if they’re to make a run in the second half of the season. The secondary will be especially important against the Texans; although Houston receiver Andre Johnson is limping a bit with an ankle injury, even mediocre offenses looked good against the Jaguars defense in the first half of the season.
Keys for the Texans
• Running back Arian Foster’s production has been a surprise to some, but his coaches saw this coming after he finished last season strong. Jacksonville’s run defense is better than its pass defense, but it was gashed for 236 yards by the Kansas City Chiefs.
• The Texans defense has been one of the worst in the league. One player whose struggles have garnered a lot of attention is cornerback Kareem Jackson. Texans coach Gary Kubiak is standing by Jackson despite the rookie’s penchant for giving up big plays. Against a quarterback who can get hot, Houston will need a good game out of the youngster.
This game features two defenses that have given up 226 points in eight games. The only AFC team that has allowed more points is Buffalo. Jaguars 42-38.